40-year-old Shanno Begum continues to give us all kinds of life lessons. A resident of the national capital, her story is not just one filled with determination but will also motivate others to break free from shackles and live their lives.
Shanno has many sides – she is a domestic abuse survivor, a mother of three and the sole earning member of her family. Shanno also broke a significant glass ceiling and chose to be a driver with Uber to support her family.
In a video interview with CNBC-TV18, she said, “During the time my husband was unwell he got very irritable and resorted to hitting and slapping me around often. One particular day the incident that took place left me shattered, and that was when I decided to walk out.”
Her husband hit her head with a grinding stone which knocked her unconscious. She has no recollection of who took her to the hospital or what happened after that. But she is thankful that she left him.
You can read more about her journey in an article we covered early last year, here.
One of her biggest motivations to stay afloat was that she had to ensure that her kids were educated and did not end up like her.
That was when she came across Azad Foundation, whose mission is to equip resource-poor women with knowledge and skills so that they excel as professionals and entrepreneurs, and earn a livelihood with dignity in jobs and markets that had traditionally been closed to them.
The Azad Foundation provides a 4-6 month training programme that covers everything from self-defence to changing tires. In an article we have covered earlier, we have written about the work that the foundation undertakes. You can read all about it here.
Shanno was soon placed with Uber as a driver and her journey towards self-empowerment began. She also conducted her eldest daughter’s marriage, while supporting her younger daughters’ pursuit of academics.
All this is the past. The reason why she is in the news now is that in between all this, she has managed to clear her Class X exam this year!
During her training as a driver that she was asked for her Class X certificate, as it is a pre-requisite to get a commercial driver’s license.
Not one to give up, she took to her books once again and started preparing in her free time and during nights. It took her two years to clear the exams, but now she is a proud commercial vehicle license holder.
At times when you feel like the odds are stacked against you, and you are on the verge of giving up, stories of people like Shanno Begum, who fight and triumph over even worse odds, provide you with the mental steel to stay in the fight and never give up. We need more real-life heroes like Shanno Begum – true role models.
(Edited By Vinayak Hegde)