Mangaluru, Sep 23, 2020: The Covid-19 induced lockdown turned into a blessing in disguise for Ramya from Kamblapadavu in Mudipu as she has successfully become an auto driver.
It was her husband Punith Acharya, a carpenter by profession, who motivated her to learn to drive an auto.
“I was working in a mall prior to the lockdown. After the announcement of the lockdown, I was jobless and my husband purchased an auto, to drive during his free time, to earn money. When I was sitting idle at home, my husband asked me to learn driving,” she told DH.
“I learnt driving without much difficulty. I decided to drive the auto and earn a living, thereby supplementing the income of the family. Now, I am happy that the lockdown has not rendered me jobless and in fact, helped me to become self-reliant,” she added.
“I do not park the auto in an auto stand and wait for the people to hire the auto. Instead, I remain at home and people in and around my house and surrounding villages hire the auto as and when required,” she explained.
“I take my four-year-old son along with me sometimes, when no one is at home,” she said, with a smile on her face.
“Being the lone woman auto driver, I have not faced any kind of discrimination from my male counterparts in Mudipu and surrounding areas. In fact, they too have been motivating me,” she added.
The Asha workers, anganwadi workers in and around Kamblapadavu are happy that they have a woman auto driver now. They too motivate me to continue my work.
“During the lockdown, I have taken a family from Vijayapura for a Covid-19 test to the health clinic in Mudipu, so that they could return to their native. Women should become self-reliant and empowered so that they too can support the family,” said Ramya.
“I have given free ride to senior citizens and those who are severely ill. I don’t feel like collecting money from them,” she said.
Now, Ramya has also enrolled for a fashion design course conducted by Jana Shikshana Trust and Prajna Skill Training Centre at Mudipu.
“Ramya who has taken up self-employment during lockdown is a model for others,” said MGNREGS former ombudsman Sheena Shetty.