Confidence on wheels: Gauravi equip 15 women with driving skills; trainees plan to drive autos, cabs to become self-reliant

The women have completed a 21-day driving course under the aegis of India’s first Gauravi (Sakhi) One Stop Centre in Bhopal

SmitaUpdated: Wednesday, June 15, 2022, 10:52 PM IST
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A certificate being handed over to a woman who underwent driving training at Gauravi |

Bhopal(Madhya Pradesh): Fifty-year-old Pranita Sontakke had never ridden even a bicycle. But now she can drive a car with confidence. 

 Pranita, educated up to Class 12, leads all-women SHG, which supplies cooked food to 25 anganwadis in the city. Currently, they use hired loading auto rickshaws to ferry the food.  Pranita now plans to buy a loading auto and drive it herself for making deliveries. “We currently spend about Rs 25,000 per month on transport. Moreover, drivers create all sorts of problems,” she told the Free Press. 

Fifty-year-old Pranita Sontakke who had never ridden even a bicycle can drive a car with confidence.

Fifty-year-old Pranita Sontakke who had never ridden even a bicycle can drive a car with confidence. | FP

A certificate being handed over to a woman who underwent driving training at  Gauravi

A certificate being handed over to a woman who underwent driving training at Gauravi | FP

Pranita, a widow, is among 15 women who have completed a 21-day driving course under the aegis of India’s first Gauravi (Sakhi) One Stop Centre in the city. An initiative by ActionAid India and Women and Child Development MP, the Centre supports women's resilience against violence.

Anita Sikarwar (name changed), 27, lost her husband to Covid-19 two years ago. The mother of a five-year-old girl, Anita, educated up to Class 12, says that her confidence has soared after learning driving. She hopes to get a job in a car showroom.

Unconventional courses :The training has been financed by Mukul Madhav Foundation - the CSR arm of Finolex Industries Limited. The basic idea behind the courses is to make women self-dependent and rehabilitate victims of crimes. But instead of going for run-of-the-mill courses like stitching and weaving, we have decided to equip women with skills to enable them to take up occupations which have been traditionally the monopoly of men. Next, we propose to train women to work as chefs, do designing work on computers and grow mushrooms.
-Soumya Saxena, programme officer, Gauravi (Sakhi) One Stop Centre, Bhopal
A certificate being handed over to  Pranita Sontakke  who underwent driving training at  Gauravi

A certificate being handed over to Pranita Sontakke who underwent driving training at Gauravi | FP

Another trainee, Anupriya Lachwani is just 20. She was married off to a man 11 years older to her when she was 16. They have been living separately for the past more than four years. The woman is now pursuing graduation in commerce. “Earlier, I did ride a two-wheeler but learning to drive a car has given me immense confidence,” she says.

Anupriya wants to work with cab aggregators like Uber or Ola. “Women will feel safe riding cabs with a woman driver,” she explains. All the trainees were handed over certificates at a function on Wednesday.

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