Azad Foundation (AF) (www.azadfoundation.com
) is a Delhi-based civil society organization that provides livelihoods with dignity for women from resource-poor communities.
Azad Foundation aims to level the employment field for urban disadvantaged women by developing new livelihood options that enhance women’s economic status, dignity, and decision-making within their families. These young women then become catalysts of positive social change in their lives, and those of their families and communities as well.
Launched in May 2008 as an incorporated Trust, the signature initiative of Azad Foundation is the ‘Women on Wheels’ programme. The initiative trains women with nominal economic and social capital to become professional and commercial drivers. Trained women drivers are then placed with individuals and institutions through formal annual contracts, after a brief period of apprenticeship. Starting salaries are pegged at Rs.6,500 per month for each driver, leading to a 80-100 per cent increase in monthly family incomes. This is done in partnership with Sakha (www.sakhaconsultingwings.com), a strategic partner of Azad.
Through the Women on Wheels initiative, Azad Foundation is thus:
* Facilitating the entry of women from disadvantaged communities into a non-traditional, high-return livelihood, while breaking gender myths and stereotypes associated with driving;
* Putting women in control over technology;
* Facilitating safer and more secure travel for women, visibly increasing their entry into public lives; and
* Building new role models for urban young women.
As of now Azad Foundation has trained more than 100 women, 40 of whom have been successfully employed. Over the next few years Azad Foundation hopes to alter the terrain of driving in the NCR region by introducing many more professional women drivers.