HUMSAFAR’s skill development and livelihood programme emerged out of an observation that a VAW survivor delays the decision to come out of an abusive relationship due to her being ill-equipped to rebuild her life. In many cases survivors decide to withdraw their case and return to face violence in abusive relationships due to their precarious financial situation.
It is in this context that HUMSAFAR decided to organize skill development trainings for survivors and active community women challenging gender-based discrimination and violence.
HUMSAFAR felt the need to support and equip women to learn skills that break the patriarchal order and challenge the popular notion that women are not good at technical skills.
Women auto rickshaw and E-Rickshaw drivers for ‘Green City-Safe City Transport’
To address the increasing number of cases of sexual violence, especially while commuting HUMSAFAR decided to introduce a public transport service run exclusively by women survivors for women. Besides providing a ‘safe’ mode of transport it also promotes the clean and green city concept as it proposes to save petrol by using CNG-run auto rickshaws and battery-run e-rickshaws.
With this aim HUMSAFAR tied up with Maruit Driving School which under its Corporate Social Responsibility imparted driving skills to 7 VAW survivors. They have now completed all legal formalities to drive commercial vehicles. The driving training has been supplemented by self defence training, basic motor repair skills, and communication skills, learning geographical maps and gender rights and empowerment classes.
Uttar Pradesh state transport department has encouraged these women and they have become the first applicants in the state to apply for E rickshaw license. The Transport Department has assured HUMSAFAR full cooperation in terms of routes and space for parking when they will start operating on roads.
These 7 women have formed a Self Help Group and plan to operate as members of SHG.
It will be milestone in Uttar Pradesh and a big step towards safe and green city for women and girls headed by brave violence survivors.
Furniture polish: Another trade male bastion in which VAW survivors excelled is furniture polish. A reputed furniture manufacturer and retailer whose owner is a member of HUMSAFAR’s voluntary group supported four VAW survivors for training in furniture polish. After an intensive four month training during which they were given a stipend, all four women were employed at the furniture factory – the only women employees in a male bastion.