Santwana Bharti, an activist from Muzaffarpur in Bihar, was on vacation when she spotted something that inspired her. It was 45 pink e-auto rickshaws all operated by women in Murshidabad in West Bengal. She decided to replicate that in her own hometown.
And Santwana did just that.
Given that she runs her own driving institute, she took 40 women under her wing and trained them to ride e-auto rickshaws.
These women will be hitting the roads on March 11, only days after the world celebrated International Women’s Day.
Image for representation. Photo source: Facebook
There will be six women who are part of the first phase of this programme and soon the rest will follow. They all come from underprivileged backgrounds with most of them living in the slum areas of the city.
And this is their chance to change their circumstances. Despite misgivings from their own supposed well-wishers, these women are determined to strike it on their own. Santwana says that more women are approaching her, having seen their friends getting trained in her institutes.
However, it was a not an easy task for Santwana to have pulled. She notes that it is especially hard to break into this industry as it is male-dominated. But it’s something she wishes will change in the near future. Speaking to Hindustan Times, she says, “I had to face a lot of difficulties as it is a herculean task to break into a male preserve. Right from procuring learner’s driving licence to obtaining bank loans for e-autos, everything was difficult.”
But difficult doesn’t mean impossible. And that’s exactly what Santwana and the other women part of this initiative have proved.