Despite a light drizzle, the air of excitement was palpable as 30 girls from Room to Read’s Girls’ Education program in Delhi arrived at a special life skills session. Anxious to begin the day’s activities, the girls lined up neatly to meet their mentors for the day—female drivers employed by Sakha Cab Company.
Today, the eager young students would learn the rules of the road, basic vehicle maintenance and, of course, how to drive. In large cities like New Delhi, which can be unsafe for women, the ability to drive is more than just a practical mode of transportation—it is a key to independence.
For the special life skills session, Room to Read India partnered with Sakha, a social enterprise that provides employment opportunities to women as drivers for other women, corporations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). They also provide a women’s taxi service throughout Delhi that will eventually be owned by the female drivers themselves.
Sakha’s professional drivers were equally excited to work with our Girls’ Education program participants, and began the day with a lively question and answer session in which they candidly shared the individual challenges they had faced in striving to achieve their career aspirations, and how they overcame them. “I used to be very shy, but learning to drive has given me so much confidence—I am a different person now,” shared Chandni, a 22-year-old Sakha employee.
It wasn’t only the girls, though, that learned something. They brought with them some of Room to Read’s local-language books to share with the women they met, including one that teaches traffic regulations to children. “One of the biggest regrets that I have is that I couldn’t finish my education,” said Chandni to the girls. “Room to Read has given you the wonderful opportunity to complete your education, so make use of it!”
Learn more about Girls’ Education.