Help Women in India Become Professional Drivers

by Azad Foundation
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Help Women in India Become Professional Drivers
Help Women in India Become Professional Drivers
Help Women in India Become Professional Drivers
Help Women in India Become Professional Drivers
Help Women in India Become Professional Drivers
Help Women in India Become Professional Drivers
Help Women in India Become Professional Drivers
Help Women in India Become Professional Drivers
Help Women in India Become Professional Drivers
Help Women in India Become Professional Drivers
Help Women in India Become Professional Drivers
Help Women in India Become Professional Drivers
Help Women in India Become Professional Drivers
Help Women in India Become Professional Drivers
Help Women in India Become Professional Drivers
Help Women in India Become Professional Drivers
Help Women in India Become Professional Drivers
Help Women in India Become Professional Drivers
Help Women in India Become Professional Drivers
Help Women in India Become Professional Drivers
Help Women in India Become Professional Drivers

Together we are stronger!

July to September 2021

July brought with it some lifting of lockdown restrictions as the pandemic subsided in India. An active vaccination campaign by the State has ensured that Sakha drivers and the Azad team were able to get their first dose of vaccination. Our offices opened up tentatively, across locations. Only half the staff were allowed to attend each day, masks were mandatory, hands were washed at regular intervals and a physical distance was meticulously maintained. 

We invited doctors to talk to us, online, about Covid-19 and the vaccinations. There were so many myths floating around that this proved to be a valuable input. Over four online sessions, our teams in Delhi, Jaipur, Kolkata and Indore interacted with doctors to know more about both physical and mental health issues arising from Covid-19. And importantly, how to keep themselves, their families and our customers safe through these difficult times. 

In May 2021, Azad Foundation had launched the #noturningbackcampaign to ensure that the lives of our women drivers and their families remained undisrupted by the second wave. Through your generous support we were able to ensure just that. Thank you!

Back to work in person

It was with relief that our teams have gone back to work physically in the midst of communities. 29 feminist leaders in Kolkata and 18 in Delhi were able to continue with their training to improve their understanding on gender issues, patriarchy, dealing with violence, etc. This will help them to support other women in their communities to go for driving as a job option or any other such non-traditional job. Understanding the nature of violence within the family and the legal and social redressal steps, prepares the feminist leaders to support others in their families and communities to live a violence-free life. 

Supporting them in this endeavor and in doing a fair share of unpaid care work are the 406 members of the Men for Gender Justice program across Delhi, Jaipur, Kolkata and Indore. These young men have also taken a lead in vaccination campaigns in their communities. An assessment after two years of work amongst 360 young men in Delhi and Jaipur shows that about half of them have an increased understanding on gender issues and on the importance of consent in a relationship. About a third of them are giving a helping hand at home in unpaid care work. 

We are also working with 84 adolescent girls who are active leaders in their peer groups, families and communities. They take a lead in motivating their peers so that girls study further, delay their age at marriage, have a say in whom they marry and are ready to take up a job in a sector where women traditionally do not work. 

As a result of the support from these community change agents and our mobilisation efforts, we have reached out to 4360 women and enrolled 149 women for the Women with Wheels program to drive a 4-wheeler or to ride a 2-wheeler. 

Between Delhi & Kolkata, we were able to place 20 trained women drivers in the e-commerce segment.

One such woman is Jyoti who was felicitated by Flipkart (sometimes referred to as the Indian Amazon), her employer, for doing the maximum number of deliveries in one day. Jyoti got trained to ride a 2 -wheeler in the beginning of 2021 and joined Flipkart as a delivery executive in April. One day when her scooter broke down, she walked to make sure that she completed the deliveries assigned to her for the day. She needs the job to support her children and herself and will go to any lengths to ensure that she does her job to the best of her ability. 

It’s wonderful to see women inspiring women and creating a strong network of women non-traditional livelihood options. Appreciations from customers serves as a reaffirmation of the hard work, courage and determination of our women. 

Today, my groceries came with a huge packet of happiness for me! She was quick on her feet and wearing sports shoes. She was so efficient and full of energy. I could not stop smiling to see the change. I will keep ordering from just to meet more women delivery agents in the future. In a segment that has traditionally been dominated by all male workforce, this was my first encounter with a woman in the last mile delivery and I was thrilled. More power to women in such jobs.”– Shruti, a customer

We provided 8029 safe rides across our four locations and placed 71 drivers as private chauffeurs with individual clients and private organizations. In Jaipur & Indore, we inducted 2 Electric cars each in our fleet as a move towards a more sustainable and responsible travel option. 

We are still not out of the woods, but we are hopeful that with the number of positive cases being down and more people getting vaccinated each day - the pandemic is on its way out. A big shout out to all our donors, supporters, customers and well-wishers without whom we would not have been able to come so far. THANK YOU! 

Our Annual Report 2020-21 is out now if you want to know more.

You can talk to us on:






Jyoti Shaw being felicitated by Flipkart
Jyoti Shaw being felicitated by Flipkart
Women with Wheels
Women with Wheels
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Hope in times of crisis!

Despite the unprecedented challenges brought on by COVID-19, 2020 ended on a note of hope. Towards the end of the year, cases were down; news of the vaccine was uplifting; educational institutes, work-spaces and business were slowly limping back to normalcy. Azad and Sakha were able to keep our women trainees and drivers engaged and supported, and our work picked up slowly and steadily. In 2021, Azad and Sakha services started in full swing in all our locations Delhi, Jaipur, Kolkata, Indore (Sakha) and Chennai. We celebrated International Women’s Day on 8th March, where Sakha shared the joy of being back in business by offering discounts on all rides booked that day along with a referral discount to promote Sakha services.

However, our happiness was short-lived as the second wave of COVID-19 arrived, taking us all by surprise. The second wave has been unprecedented not only because of the numbers of lives lost, but also because of the complete failure of government machinery in terms of health services and relief support.

With the surge in positive cases and deaths, each state introduced their own lockdown restrictions, keeping open only essential and emergency services. As transport was an essential service, we kept all our services open despite minimal business. We extended our services to include patients suffering from mild and moderate COVID-19 symptoms who were struggling to get local/private taxis, and to a range of clientele, including the elderly, pregnant women and people going for their vaccinations. All cabs met safety guidelines, including handy sanitizers, isolators, a properly kitted driver (mask, gloves, face shields, PPE Kits).

Stories of resilience from women driving the wheels of change in Kolkata

During this time of uncertainty and immense loss, our Sakha chauffeurs continued to do their duty diligently knowing fully the danger involved. We take a bow to all these brave women.

Since 1st March 2021, till date, we have provided close to 6500 safe rides across all our four locations.

On 19 May 2021, a call for a cab booking came in at 3.15 pm in Kolkata. It was a COVID patient who needed to visit her ailing COVID parents and get them hospitalized. It was a call of desperation. Within 15 minutes of the call, our driver Shankari Haldar reached the client’s place, ready in her PPE Kit, with the cab fully sanitized, all safety measures in place, and drove the client to her destination. At 9 pm, the same voice called back to inform that her grandfather had passed away in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Shankari drove the client’s mother multiple times and helped her see everything through for her father, including his last rites. The client thanked Sakha and Shankari profusely for making it possible for her mother to see her father (the client’s grandfather) the last time.

On 16 March 2021, a call for an airport pickup came in at 11.30 pm in Kolkata. The booking was for a senior citizen. Unfortunately, on the day of the pickup, the flight got delayed to 12.45 am.  Sakha driver Mitu Dey patiently waited, picked up the client and dropped her off safely at her house. Mitu reached home only at 1.45 am in the morning.

We remain committed but as the world stands still again we seek your support!

With business hitting rock bottom, we started the #NoTurningBack campaign once again to support our drivers. Through the campaign, we set up a helpline for our women drivers, trainees and their support systems. We initiated an assessment to understand their current system, organized weekly sessions with a qualified doctor to answer their questions on COVID-19, and conducted workshops with qualified counsellors to ensure their mental well-being. All drivers on duty have been provided with safety kits (PPE kits, N95 masks, regular masks, gloves, face shield and hand sanitizers) to ensure their safety as well as the safety of the clients. Till date, we have ensured uninterrupted salaries to all our Sakha commercial drivers across all locations. Every bit of donation to the #NoTurningBack campaign counts and it will ensure that these brave hearted women are able to tide through these difficult times. Your support will make a difference. Donate now to Azad Foundation:

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From Transport to Retail – a shift to stay relevant in the changing world of work!

“Be the change you wish to see” – Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

This quote finds deep resonance with the work we do – empowering Ambassadors of Change to be the change they wish to see. Having said this, this journey would not have been possible without YOU.

Last October, we had brought you an update on how Azad, with the support of generous donors like you, was able to provide multifaceted support like: food relief, access to information and support for Government social security schemes, support for survivors of gender-based violence, and sanitation and hygiene facilities to women trainees, chauffeurs, their families, and communities with which Azad works. We also shared how we had expanded to include 2-wheeler trainings so that women could avail of emerging opportunities on the e-commerce platform. This report will delve deeper on how this transition was enabled.

COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected the transportation and tourism sectors, both of which Azad directly works with. Tourism contributes to 10% of the GDP and 12.5% of job generation in the Indian economy. As many of us would agree, with each challenge comes an opportunity; in this case - the emerging E-commerce expansion and enhanced demand for online orders.

Azad Kolkata was a frontrunner in two-wheeler training, which began with women chauffeurs who had been previously working but had lost their jobs during the lockdown, or those women who were actively seeking a job. In keeping with the Azad ethos of engagement with trainees and their families, detailed discussions were held with the women and their families to ensure that they understood the job profiles, requirements, work-timings and the reason for this sudden shift from four-wheelers to two-wheelers.

The Training Process – learning hands on!

The training commences with twelve such chauffeurs and two women trainers. In order to maintain social distancing, enable trainees to attend trainings closer to their home in the absence of regular public transport post lockdown, trainers visited the house of each trainee to impart technical training whilst ensuring that COVID-19 hygiene and safety compliance was strictly adhered to. In keeping with the transformative, rights-based Skill ++ training that Azad follows, classes included empowerment modules, map- and GPS reading; gender & legal rights; self-development modules like English language and communication skills; these trainings were conducted virtually through small, online group meetings. As the job demanded knowledge and familiarity of English language, special focus was placed on the same thanks to the self-learning mobile application sourced in partnership with Quest Alliance, along with practice sessions using names of delivery items of the targeted e-commerce brands, sample invoices to identify names, and several rounds of mock –interviews with each trainee.

Market Negotiations-an important element in the ‘Big Picture’

In parallel to preparing trainees for the job market, an equal effort was applied to ensure dignified work conditions, along with social security and transportation facilities. While some e-commerce retailers provided electric vehicles, for others, Azad, along with its livelihood partner Sakha, had to ensure that adequate investments were raised to purchase electric two wheelers.

The Impact-

Through this ongoing rigorous process that panned out between August 2020 – Jan 2021, with Kolkata, Delhi has also joined in the efforts to train women on two wheelers and a total of 41 women (28 in Kolkata, 13 Delhi)women have been placed with the retail majors, till now. Currently, 30 more women are still undergoing training as part of this 3-month long training program which is being institutionalized within Women With Wheels. Do view the accompanying video that captures this transition, and voices of our new delivery executives.

Two-Wheeler Training in Kolkata

Big Basket delivery executives with their new E-Scooties

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A little belief can help provide an ocean of relief

Azad Foundation with the support of generous donors like you could support women chauffeurs and families of women trainees who lost their livelihoods during the COVID19 pandemic. We had shared this in our previous report. As we emerge from lockdown, our support in the form of food relief, access to information and support on government social security schemes, assisting survivors of gender based violence and interventions on sanitation and hygiene continue along with adaptations to access new livelihood opportunities. This report talks of our relief work and exploring new livelihood opportunities.

Our virtual community need assessment indicated that Not only violence but other forms of discrimination was also prevalent in the form of increasing care work and restrictions on mobility. This guided our support, assisting survivors through counselling and legal support

The lack of access to masks revealed by the community need assessment also spurred the Azad teams to work on production of masks, which were distributed, to all community members along with relief supplies across Delhi, Jaipur and Kolkata.

New Opportunities in E-Commerce- In addition to these initiatives to build community resilience, Azad has also been exploring ways to enable more women trainees to get employment. Since the transport sector is still recovering from the shocks of lockdown, the safety concerns related to travel, and the e-commerce sector was the new emerging need of the hour, Azad could successfully transition through some collaborations with e-commerce delivery chains to enable trainees to explore jobs as delivery agents. So far, 12 women in Delhi, 8 in Jaipur 12 in Indore and 14 women in Kolkata have begun working as delivery agents as shown in the pictures below. We continue to explore more such opportunities while we will keep the relief work ongoing with the support of our donors


We thank all our supporters, partners, and donors because of whom we have been able to support our communities and continue our attempts to build back better with resilience.

Thank you all for your support!!

Azad Foundation Team 


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Together we ensured #NoTurningBack for Our Chauffeurs

This year has started with new hopes and aspirations for many; however COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives of people manifolds at an unprecedented scale and speed, leading to a serious humanitarian crisis across the globe. The pandemic has impacted people of all strata, however, with 80% workforce in India employed in the informal sector and one of every 3 people working as a casual daily wage laborer, this class has been at the receiving end of the crisis which accompanied pandemic. With the lockdown in place, the people belonging to this stratum have been hit the hardest as they lost their jobs, with no alternative source of income, with extreme food insecurity, health hazards and an uncertain future, making them even more vulnerable.


Since the first lockdown was announced our Sakha Chauffeurs were not driving and therefore were not earning. It became more and more difficult for our chauffeurs to deal with the damages that the pandemic had caused. The socio-economic impact of COVID-19 on our Sakha Drivers has been especially devastating, with the food insecurity and the looming uncertainty of future livelihoods.


The global recession triggered by this pandemic sent tremors in the in the Indian employment market as well. Statistics sourced from diverse sources such as Stranded Workers Action Network (SWAN), Periodic Labour Force Survey 2018-19, Centre of Monitoring Indian Economy, International Labour Organization, IMF etc corroborate this situation., India has 400 million informal workers left stranded without income (which makes 90% of India’s workforce), 94% daily wage workers do not have labour card, 14% don’t have ration cards, 17 % have no bank account, the lockdown on the earnings of women workers, 83% of them are facing severe income drop, the IMF projected 3-4% contraction of Indian economy this resulting in 76% job losses in informal Economy and rate of employment has decreased from 40% in February to 27% in April 2020.

As organizations, Azad and Sakha continue to reach out to our communities, strengthening our peer group network to connect with women and families providing relief, support and information. To support Sakha Chauffeurs, we launched campaign on our social media platforms #NoTurningBack to support our chauffeurs and their families.


#NoTurningBack:Azad and Sakha together values the trainees and chauffeurs, who lost their jobs ever since the pandemic has started. The lockdown amidst COVID-19, made it even more difficult for them to manage their day to day needs and affected their lives adversely. Sakha Chauffeurs have provided more than 1.5 million safe rides to women, worked hard and tirelessly for their children and families across thee cities of Delhi, Jaipur, Kolkata and Indore. #NoTurningBack Campaign was launched to ensure that they experience minimal disruption  and are not deprived of ration and food supplies.                


Despite of their own problems, our chauffeurs reached out to the communities through the Sakha Cabs in distribution of ration







Azad Foundation linked Sakha Chauffeurs with government food security schemes, however they were not able to get ration despite getting their ration cards made.

Therefore, Azad Foundation wrote to  Ms. Ranjana Prasad, Member, DCPCR to support in this situation. This request made its way to the Delhi Chief Minister, Mr. Arvind Kejriwal, and about 90 women received ration kits from Delhi government directly.  



Azad Foundation and Sakha Consulting Pvt. Ltd in collaboration with Dhwani Rural Information

Systems have developed a mobile application to understand and address the changing community needs through technology. The mobile based application platform MFORM is designed to work even in areas and geographical settings with poor connectivity, so it allows users to upload data stored on mobiles and sync whenever users have connectivity.

 Our target reach is 2, 00,000 households and so far we have recorded response from 17,400 households.

And we have been able to reach out Across 3 cities 14634 families have filled up the baseline data form (as of 9th June 2020) and it revealed that out of 14634 families

  • 9587 Families (65 %) are from disadvantages sections of the society such as SC, ST and OBC.
  • 7396 families (50.5%) have stated immediate need of food/ration with less than a week of food rations left with them 
  • 5216 families (41%) have notified that they did not get any ration support from the state agencies
  • Out of these 7396 families that have immediate ration needs 4696 families (32%) are from disadvantaged communities (Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Caste (OBC) )
  • Out of these 4696 families 3278 families (22%) have family income up to USD110 (INR 8000/-) per month.





So far, we have been able to reach out to 9747 households in various capacities both directly and indirectly with the support of fellow NGOs and linkages with the Government security schemes and still reaching out regularly.


As a responsible organization we tried our level best to ensure that our chauffers do not fall short of ration, food supplies, medicines and other essential requirement, which are essential to sustain their livelihood. However, with lockdown being eased down, it became necessary to protect their livelihood once again by supplying them with COVID safety equipements for driving the cabs again. The health of our chauffeurs,  their families and Sakha’s clients are our utmost priority, therefore we trained our Sakha chauffeurs on the various safety rules and regulations they must follow while travelling and shuttling passengers.

Detailed safety measures were demonstrated across all cities, and cabs were customized with COVID safety equipents.

Recognition to filed staff:

Azad’s Warriors were accoladed with Certificates of Appreciation and Recognition for lending their services to ease and improve the COVID situation. These Good Samaritans of the society selflessly worked towards helping people access ration, menstrual hygiene- products and other essentials. They also assisted the disadvantaged section with the tedious process involved in availing the relief schemes offered by the government. They also helped in sanitizing the areas and ensure swift and immediate help reached to places of medical emergency.


It is because the limitless generosity of donors likes you that we have been able to provide help to those in need. We hope that you continue to support our cause and enable us to transform the lives of many more women and their families, by helping them to overcome the darkness of poverty and unemployment.

Donate Now


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Organization Information

Azad Foundation

Location: New Delhi, Delhi - India
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @FoundationAzad
Project Leader:
Veronika Miskech Fricova
New Delhi, Delhi India
$57,320 raised of $75,000 goal
570 donations
$17,680 to go
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