About Women on Wheels Academy
Our Women on Wheels Academy provides residential training in Jaipur to enable resource-poor women from across India to become professional chauffeurs and confident and independent individuals.
The aim of Women on Wheels programme is to prepare and place resource-poor women as professional drivers to enable socially excluded female members of the society to move from the margins to mainstream economy. It enables them to enter remunerative profession with dignity that has traditionally been closed to women.
The programme also empowers women to build confidence, take control over their lives and exercise decision-making power. As professional drivers they are able to increase their family income by more than a 100% and even a 200%. As private chauffeurs they earn salaries beginning from 7,000 INR to 13,000 INR. Once employed as commercial drivers, women earn salaries between 9,000 -20,000 INR.
Through this process, we alter public perceptions about women’s participation in the booming public transportation sector and the role and status of women in society. We aim to facilitate entry of women into the persistently male-dominated public transport sector, exercising strong entry barriers for women.
The Academy launched in February 2015 in partnership with six organisations from five different locations. In the first year, resource-poor women from Himachal Pradesh, Kota and Ajmer in Rajasthan and Ahmedabad in Gujarat studied at the Academy, all acquiring permanent license and getting ready for their first jobs.
‘The training modules are really good as I have seen the trainees express so much confidence after undertaking them.’ Geeta, Jan Vikas, Ahmedabad
How it works
Women on Wheels Academy is delivered in partnership with organisations across India.
The trainees undertake a four to five months long training in Jaipur, living in a secure hostel within the Azad – Jaipur office grounds. Azad provides lodging and boarding and covers the cost of two return journeys home for each trainee to enable them to visit their hometown for the learner’s and permanent license exams and to visit their family.
Upon completion of the training, they receive Women on Wheels Certificate from Azad Foundation.
‘I have learned so many new things from other girls, all with different and unique backgrounds. I am enjoying the training immensely.’ Suman, Kangra District in Himanchal Pradesh
Women on Wheels training
The Women on Wheels course modules are delivered in partnership with experienced resource persons and recognized institutions such as Maruti Driving School and Fortis Hospital.
The course comprises:
- Technical driving training
This part of the course involves preparation for learner’s license exam, driving lessons, practice on the ground for permanent license, on-road practice and self-drive, route identification and map reading, car maintenance and trouble-shooting and GPS use.
The driving training is delivered by the recognized Maruti Driving School and our in-house faculty. Trainees receive a certificate from Maruti upon completion of the driving modules delivered by Maruti.
- Self-empowerment modules
These modules include legal rights training and sessions on women’s rights, reproductive and sexuality and gender.
- Self-development modules
This part of the course comprises classes on financial literacy, first aid, self-defense, spoken English for professional chauffeurs, and communications skills, and counseling.
First Aid course is provided by Fortis Hospital.
‘I have learned more in 5 months at Azad, than in my whole previous life.’ Mary, Ajmer
Why are we doing it?
Azad Foundation has received many requests from various organisations in India and abroad to pilot and test out Women on Wheels beyond our current locations – Delhi, Jaipur (Rajasthan), Kolkata (West Bengal) and Indore (Madhya Pradesh). Based on this interest, we decided to launch Women on Wheels Academy to sprout the concept of “Women on Wheels” over a large geographical area and to reach out to many more resource-poor women in a short period of time.
Through the Academy, we also enlarge the network of ‘professional women drivers’, facilitating support and solidarity amongst themselves. And take another small step towards making more and more cities safer for women.
The Academy also enables Azad to establish the ground for setting up a local franchise of ‘Women on Wheels’ in areas where there is a high number of women interested to become professional drivers and a suitable job market.
What is the role of partner organization?
- As a partner organization you are responsible for identifying and enrolling eligible women for the Academy. This involves collecting and paying to Azad Foundation a 2,000 INR non-refundable commitment fee.
- You’ll need to provide counseling and support to women’s family members to ensure they support the women to take up the residential training and become professional chauffeurs.
- You will be responsible for supporting the enrolled women to get their learner’s and permanent license in their hometown – all required training needed to acquire these licenses will be provided by the Academy.
- You will need to be regularly in touch with the trainee, her family and Azad to ensure all parties are kept informed at all times.
- Once the trainees you enroll acquire permanent license and complete the course, you will be responsible for finding them private chauffeur placements. Our sister company, Sakha Consulting Wings that provides private female chauffeurs and operates Sakha Cabs for Women by Women, can provide technical support if required.
We are looking for organisations with experience in working on gender related issues, whose primary agenda includes women empowerment and/or livelihoods. You need to have a firm belief in the participation of women in non-traditional livelihoods, particularly ‘driving’.
You need to commit to putting together a team to support the women during and post training and be able to enroll at least 3 eligible women for Women on Wheels Academy. You need to commit to secure private chauffeur placements in your city for the trained women you will be sponsoring.
We would particularly welcome applications from organisations working in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kanpur, Chennai, Surat and Nagpur, but will consider relevant applications from any suitable locations.
Who is eligible for Women on Wheels Academy?
Women aged 18-35 from economically poor backgrounds who completed at least class 8 are the target group for Women on Wheels programme. They require a proof of residence, age and education attainment up to grade 8 for the enrollment. They also need to be fluent in Hindi, being able to speak as well as read and write in Hindi.
They must be willing to pay a commitment fee of 2,000 INR. Alternatively, the fee can be paid by partner organization.
How to submit your Expression of interest
Please download Expression of Interest – Women on Wheels Academy partners and send a completed version of this form to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact:
Azad Foundation – Jaipur