Sakha Cabs – Female chauffeurs changing mindsets

Part 2: Meeting professional life changers in India with Journeys for Change

When I arrived at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, there were hundreds of men holding either name sheets in their hands to pick up someone or taxi drivers shouting and offering rides. Amongst all of them, there was only one lady – holding a name tag with my name on it. What a strong women I thought.

Jyothi has joined Sakha Cabs as a driver a couple of years ago and told me how joining the company helped her become independent from her husband and domestic violence.

Sakha (engl. friend) Cabs is a social enterprise providing dignified livelihoods to poor women from rural areas while offering safe transport options for female travelers. In a country, where  8 million unborn females are estimated to be aborted over the past decade (The Daily Telegraph) and women getting stuck in low paid female jobs, Meenu Vadera, founder of Sakha Cabs, and her team found a way to break the circle. With Journeys for Change I  visited the HQ in Delhi, talked to the founders and the lady chauffeurs. Driving is disruptive as it gives mobility to women, who never got out of their villages. It  has an element of power and knowing, since these women don’t depend on men anymore, if they want to get around.

After their six-month training program, Jyothi and her colleagues were not only able to steer a car, but their lives. It enabled them to step out of violence, gain self-esteem and in most cases, become the principal bread owner of the family and thus gain incredible respect.

Sakha Cabs has set up a smart cooperation with Azad, an NGO, supporting Sakha with funding, recruiting and education programs for women in rural areas as well as the 6 month training program for  women to become chauffeurs.  Sakha Cabs employes 45 women, earning a salary between 6.500 – 10.000 INR (145-225 USD), which is in most cases twice the family income. Their confidence and courage makes them role models and leaders in their communities.

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