Hyderabad: In search of a better lifestyle with a well-paying job, four women have charted the less traversed path before emerging as auto-rickshaw drivers.

Dhairya Foundation, started by Prassana Dommu and Tindu Nikhat, identified women from different social backgrounds but who possessed the zeal to learn and move on in life while setting examples of a rarity in male bastions.

To this genre belong, Bahenwal Anita, Polle Kavita, Mamdala Vijaya and Vasa Nandini, who all, on completion of a two-month learning process, began plying autos on the city roads.

Vasa Nandini resides in Amman Vedhika Women’s Shelter in Secunderabad. When Dhairya volunteers approached her, Nandini came ahead to learn the three-wheeler.

“I always had a dream of standing on my own legs. That’s why when they came up with this offer, I willingly joined. I also got my permanent license,” said Nandini.

Apart from driving, they were also taught self-defence techniques.

As Nandini will be given a rented vehicle, she will start driving on International Women’s Day on the Secunderabad to Warsiguda stretch.

Meanwhile, Mamdala Vijaya will be driving on the Banjara Hills Road No.10 to Punjagutta stretch.

”I was a domestic work in households. Tindu ma’am met me and motivated me to be an entrepreneur. My husband and kids were very supportive when I said I wanted to learn driving auto-rickshaws. Now, I am happy that I can start earning on my own, by doing a decent job,” said Vijaya.

Like her, even Polle Kavita was doing domestic work. After her husband’s death, she had to take care of her sister, four children and her mother. Handling the family was getting difficult for her. During those crucial days, the Foundation approached her basti in Amberpet and she eagerly came forward to learn three-wheeler.

“Seeing the condition of my house, Tindu ma’am motivated me to come forward. We learnt a lot apart from driving. I feel really happy that I opted for this livelihood,” said Kavita.

Bahenwal Anita also belongs to a basti near Osmania University. Her husband’s income kept fluctuating. She had to work and that’s why she agreed when Tindu approached her.

“This job will help me give my children a better life. I don’t want to stop here. I will learn driving a car and my aim is to become a cab driver.”

Aiswarya Sriram

Aiswarya Sriram is a budding multimedia journalist and is currently working for NewsMeter as a "Factcheck Freelancer". A graduate from Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) Bangalore, Aiswarya has earlier worked with The Logical Indian and has interned with Republic TV. Aiswarya, a Tamilian who was born and brought up in Mumbai, loves to do rural reporting. She has visited Byadgi Taluk of Karnataka, to write about the issues faced by chilli factory workers there, earlier in 2019. A craft enthusiast, Aiswarya also does quilling, painting and glass work. On her off-days, she loves to read crime-thrillers and watch anime. She primarily reports on civic issues, GHMC, human-interesting features, and fact-checking video stories.

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