Driving to the rescue of victims of domestic violence

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‘‘As part of my job, I get to meet many survivors of domestic violence and when I tell them about my own journey, they get inspired.’’

Laxmi’s husband is an alcoholic, he used to beat her regularly and earned erratically. The family income did not come to more than $119 per month – and most of it her husband squandered. Often she could not even afford to buy a milk for her son. Having lost her parents and with education only till the 9th standard, Laxmi could see no way out of this life.

The one day, her sister in law’s friend told her about Azad’s Women on Wheels programme: ‘‘I was immediately attracted because the idea of driving a car seemed so different. I did not enjoy women’s jobs like cooking and cleaning…this excited me,’’ says Laxmi.

“Earlier I accepted violence because I believed it is every woman’s load. During training we learnt about women’s rights, women’s bodies, self- defense and I started protesting against the beating and mental torture. The team at Azad also came and talked to my family several times. I told my family clearly “no matter what you do, I am not going to stop my training!”

After completing our Women on Wheels training in February 2016, Laxmi got a job with the Delhi Commission for Women where she drives the helpline’s van to the rescue of victims of violence.

‘‘As part of my job, I get to meet many survivors of domestic violence and when I tell them about my own journey, they get inspired.’’

She earns $163 every month, nearly doubling her family income. She manages the money herself and her dream is to put her son in an English medium school. She herself has enrolled for her class 10 examination at an open school. She aspires to buy a small apartment in her own name and her son’s name after saving for some time. As for domestic violence, she says, ‘‘they don’t dare now…at least very rarely…I know all the laws! If they harm me or my child in any way, I will walk out and live alone! Earlier I had no choice. Now I don’t need my husband to live with dignity.’’

 

Every day we meet many resource-poor women like Laxmi, who dream of escaping poverty, violence and the world of restrictions. Women who want to build a brighter future for themselves and their loved ones. They want to be able to do this themselves, but need your help. Donate now to empower women to get on wheels.