Achieving State-level Success
From a confused school dropout to the FIRST woman ambulance driver in the entire state of Tamil Nadu – ANEW gave Kayalvizhi the wings of confidence.
The last of six children and having failed Std. X, Kayalvizhi, saw an advertisement from ANEW in 1998 and walked in when she was barely 18 years old. Her father wanted her to continue her studies, but she was not interested. She had no confidence and rarely opened her mouth to speak. She learned auto-rickshaw driving from Kala Rani at ANEW, and it boosted her confidence. Though she subsequently passed the Std X Boards, she had found her metier in driving. She began by driving an auto-rickshaw for a playschool. The principal gave her the opportunity to upgrade herself and drive a car after four years. She took it up after training at ANEW again.
Her next stop was IRT – Institute for Road Transport – where she learnt to drive a bus and got a heavy vehicles driving licence. She drove the college bus of Jain Engineering College for a while. For an interim period, when ANEW needed her services, she also taught car driving at ANEW. Kayalvizhi is currently an ambulance driver at the Government Stanley Hospital, Chennai. She is the only woman ambulance driver in the entire state of Tamil Nadu! She earnestly believes that this remarkable journey was possible only because of the initial confidence ANEW instilled in that youthful, confused 18-year-old, and the continuous support it has provided by keeping its doors open for her to go back for advice and support whenever she needed.
In the Driver’s Seat
Kala Rani was abandoned by her husband when she was just 16 years old. She had a baby daughter, and no hope. She was the daughter of a cook, and had studied only up to Std. IX. Kala went back to her mother’s house, and worked as a maid to contribute to the upkeep of her daughter and herself. Hearing about the nursing course offered by ANEW, Kala and her mother came to enquire about it. After assessing her, ANEW suggested that she take up the auto-rickshaw driving course. Though other members of her family were against it, her mother stood by her, and Kala took it up. ANEW not only trained her, but helped her get a license and found her employment at a school.
After marriage, Kala took a break due to family commitments. But within a year, she felt the urge to get back on the driver’s seat, and approached ANEW afresh. Upgrading her skills to car driving, she was placed at The Banyan. Here too she acquitted herself well, but monetary considerations forced her to look for a job that offered a better salary. Kala has been an instructor at Maruti Driving School since 2010. She trains both men and women in driving, and given her service record, she is one of the more popular trainers there. Kala recently received an award for being a good instructor from Bharat Petroleum Car Trade.
Despite facing all the tragedies women from her background face, Kala Rani chose to break out with ANEW’s help, and today leads a happy and fulfilling life.
The Driving Force
Vasanthi approached ANEW in 2010 after seeing the handbills it distributed in her neighbourhood. She wanted to learn car driving but as she was a graduate, she was hesitant. However she was having a difficult time making ends meet on her husband’s income and so, she decided to take up driving as a career. ANEW equipped her with the necessary skills, and she interned at Savera Hotel as a valet driver. She was later placed with a call taxi service. Building on her confidence she went on to work as driver of the school bus operated by the prestigious Chennai Public School. When ANEW needed a trainer, she was called in, and when she wasn’t on duty, she worked part-time as ANEW’s trainer until a regular teacher was found. Vasanthi is an enterprising girl. Her son is now in middle school. She works as an on-call driver and also takes up private training on weekends and school holidays to add to her monthly income from the school.