As we celebrate International Women's Day, there are stories back home that teach you to be strong and overcome hurdles. In India, wherein, jobs are often segregated depending upon your gender, there are a few who have made the best of the opportunity available to start afresh. One such story is of Ola Auto driver Reshma Vinod Pandav.
Marriage at 17 and motherhood by 18 had put a break on Pandav's dreams and her affinity towards vehicles. But, it was soon that her marriage crumbled and she was deserted by her in-laws as well as parents.
She did menials jobs in a packing factory and gave marriage a second chance. This marriage didn't last too long either and she was left with another child to fend for.
With not a single penny in pocket, she was almost on streets. “There was a time I did not even have a rupee to buy milk for my baby. I too was blank from all the shock."
She was lucky to have come across a counsellor who worked towards upliftment of women and helped them find their earnings, depending upon their skills. "I rented an auto for a month on a trial basis. This auto was the miracle I needed. I made ₹25000 in two months, paid off all my debts and found a house for myself,” Pandav said with pride.
"When Ola first came to Nasik, I was overjoyed at the thought of running my own business. Two years later, I have not been disappointed. Even today, customers are pleasantly surprised when they see a woman riding their Auto when they hail an Ola. It gives me a sense of gratification when women tell me that they feel extremely safe travelling with me, especially on late night rides," she tells us.
With money back in life, so were all those broken relations. When asked about her safety, she said measures have been taken for all drivers with a 24/7 helpline. Today, she is a proud owner of two autos attached to Ola and also plans to expand the fleet soon.