Azad Foundation is challenging stereotypes in India. It is fighting discrimination against women and girls. The Foundation’s mission is “livelihoods with dignity for women.”
Azad Foundation has reached into the slums of Delhi, recruiting young women to help them become breadwinners, while simultaneously giving them a profession, empowerment and confidence. It does this through one of its main projects, “Women on Wheels.”
The program’s stated aims are “to:
- Level the field of professional driving by breaking gender myths and stereotypes associated with it.
- Put women in control over technology.
- Facilitate safer travel for women and children, thus visibly increasing their participation in public lives.
- Build new role models for girl children and other women who have been marginalized in India’s urban economic growth.”
Concretely this means teaching the women to drive, read maps and change tires, as well as basic auto repair. The drivers first become private chauffeurs for families or NGOs, then with experience can become corporate chauffeurs on call for commercial firms.
But much more than the already great achievement of learning a trade and making a living has been accomplished when the women drivers finish their schooling. They have earned a driver’s license, which gives them an identity and active citizenship. Along with that comes a bank account, independence, a “can do” attitude and empowerment. These are huge advances for the underprivileged women.