One of the reasons women may choose to stay in abusive relationships is their financial dependence on men. However, Azad Foundation has shown women, especially those from unprivileged backgrounds, that there is another way. It trains women in professions traditionally closed to them and helps them achieve financial independence.
Women undergo a half-year training course, which cover topics such as self-defence, women's rights, sexuality and reproductive rights, effective communication, grooming and most importantly, driving—their future vocation. The organization's founders have set up Sakha Consulting Wings Pvt. Ltd, a company that provides employment to these women and safe chauffeur and car hire services to other women.
With the money raised through the show, Azad Foundation was able to strengthen its training and mobilization programmes, start new initiatives and build a corpus of funds to ensure the organization's sustainability. The funds raised also helped fortify the work of Sakha cabs, which increased its fleet from 7 to 11 cabs and the number of full-time women drivers from 8 to 13.
Today, whenever Aamir Khan visits Delhi, he always makes it a point to hire a Sakha cab. Many other celebrities, both national and international, have used this service as well. This new clientele has given the women drivers a morale boost and increased the business of the social enterprise.
The hope is that many more women will be able to find new lives behind the wheel of a cab, which has taken them on the road towards dignity, independence and self-respect.
"There were many young women, in bastis and slums, who saw Satyamev Jayate and approached us wanting to become chauffeurs. So, it opened up horizons for these women, who suddenly thought, 'Yes, it is possible for us to become drivers.'"
- Meenu Vadera, Founder and Executive Director, Azad Foundation
About Azad Foundation
Azad Foundation is a Delhi-based civil society organization that helps provide dignified livelihoods to women from resource-poor communities. It enables women to empower themselves by taking up employment opportunities that have traditionally been unavailable to women, thereby increasing their participation in public life.
Launched in May 2008, the signature initiative of Azad Foundation is the 'Women on Wheels' programme, which trains women to become professional drivers. Recently, the foundation has expanded its reach, and opened offices in Gurgaon in November 2012 and Jaipur in April 2013.