The story of a woman who was earlier a sweeper but now drives an Audi is in itself an upliftment to many. If this does not inspire you, we aren't sure what will. Gayathri is one of the women trained under project Unnati - an initiative taken up by Maruti Suzuki.
Women's day is here and it is around this time that initiatives taken up by various organisations and NGOs to empower women are brought into the limelight.
Project Unnati is one such initiative taken up by Maruti Suzuki, that encourages women to take up driving as a profession. The women are equipped with the skill of driving and also trained in maintaining customer relations and other behavioural etiquettes.
The women are then hired by one of Unnati's various taxi service partners. Based out of Bangalore, Gayathri took up a job as a sweeper at TaxShe - one of Unnati's taxi service partners.
For a meagre salary of Rs 1,500 per month, she had agreed to sweep and swab the office and then clean the toilets as well. She then started noticing how the lives of women trained under Unnati changed and was soon wanting to try it out herself.
She too took up the Unnati training for three months and started driving after that. This happened three years ago, and today Gayathri drives a client's Honda Accord and Audi.
Gayathri did face a few struggles initially, as she drove slow, struggled to find routes and was a little too cautious in her driving approach. However, initiatives like Unnati helped her overcome this. She now drives around 20 children to school on a daily basis.
Gayathri is now in a position to earn around Rs 42,000 and plans to buy her own cab soon.
It is great to see big organisations like Maruti Suzuki coming with initiatives such as Unnati to help women who are struggling. Initiatives like this go on throughout the year, but come up in the limelight only before, on, or after Women's day. These initiatives deserve attention throughout the year.
Last year, a unique women's rally was conducted in which around 1,000 women drove their uniquely decorated cars from Mumbai to Aamby Valley to promote safety. More such drives can be expected this year as well.