Bridgestone India Women Empowerment Initiative Trains Women to Become Professional Drivers

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Indore, November 26, 2020: In a major women empowerment initiative, Bridgestone India has undertaken the training of women to become professional drivers by providing opportunities to pursue driving and auto-mechanics as a profession. Till date, 81 women have been trained in the city of Indore itself. The Company plans to take this initiative to other cities as well.

Spread over three and a half months, the training included driving skills, preventive maintenance and emergency repair. Soft skills training in English speaking, map reading, first aid, self-defence was also imparted. An insight to women-related law, the Motor Vehicle Act, the Insurance Act was also provided. Post the training many have been successfully employed as cab drivers, personal drivers, e-rickshaw drivers and as a driver on call.

“Women Empowerment is one of our prime focus areas for Bridgestone India. This initiative, while giving financial independence to women, also gives them the confidence to engage in a non-conventional occupation. The training content is core to Bridgestone’s ethos of safety and mobility. Even during the lockdown, when jobs were scarce, we extended our support to these women, who not only showed great dedication, but also the strength in learning a new skill at this juncture,” said Parag Satpute, Managing Director Bridgestone India.

During the lockdown period, when many of these women had lost their jobs, Bridgestone India reached out with the assistance of food and essentials. A total of one hundred families were benefited.

“Indore has a large population of women commuters, and they feel safer being driven by a lady driver. The training has given me self-confidence that I can be a professional, earn and support my family. For me stepping into the driving profession has been really helpful and driving a car makes me feel very empowered,” said Sonali Prajapat who successfully undertook the training and is currently driving a cab.

Sonali was working as a driver in a girls hostel before the lockdown and earning Rs. 7,000 per month. She is separated from her husband and currently living in Indore. She is the lone earning member of the family and is taking care of her parents and one brother. During the lockdown, the hostel was closed, and as a result, she lost her job. In this scenario, we reached out to Sonali to support her with an emergency survival kit (Grocery Kit). This kit has helped her family to meet with the daily requirement of food.

After the Unlock Phase, our implementing agency found her new employment, and now she is working as a personal driver and earning Rs 9000 per month.

Bridgestone’s global CSR Commitment places a strategic focus on areas of Mobility, People & Environment, and we bring this to life with Our Way to Serve. Bridgestone India, aligned to this commitment, reaches out to communities with programmes such as Women Empowerment, Biodiversity Conservation, Promoting Health and Hygiene, Educational and Capacity Building Programmes.