Wheels for women
The Wheels for Women is a novel initiative to empower and bring women to the main stream of society by giving training of three-wheeler vehicle (Autorickshaw). Ms. Kathleen Mulligan and Mr. David Studwell, an energetic and dynamic couple from the US who visited and interacted with the members of Shantibhavan (a home for women in crisis situation) helped to initiate the program. Cultural Academy for Peace is functioning as the nodal agency. The main aim of this project is to empower destitute women who are bread winners and enable them to support their families financially with a steady income. This is a livelihood empowerment program with the main objective to provide training for women in Auto-Rickshaw driving and also to make them licensed professional drivers.
Each batch consists of three trainees with a qualified trainer. They are helped to get Learner’s License initially and are trained to acquire the final License followed by a graduation ceremony. There is a process for the selection of suitable candidates.
One of our trainees Ms. Dileena commented that, “Now am able to take up more family responsibilities as I have a share in the income. As a women auto driver, I get recognition in my locality and am available on call. Women passengers of my locality find it more comfortable to travel in my auto“.
Auto Rickshaw driving was a job dominated by men. It was considered almost a taboo for women to be an Auto Rickshaw driver. “Wheels for women” training program was a challenge in the male dominated society of Kerala. But the members of Cultural Academy for Peace were determined to make this program a big success. The project has been running successfully and over the years we were able to purchase 3 auto-rickshaws and train nearly 20 women who hail from economically disadvantaged sections of rural and coastal areas in Kerala. Our program motivated the Government to start their project SHE TAXI .