Meet Minoti Probha Chakma of Rangamati, Bangaldesh, who is a part of a group of Bangladeshi women drivers trained by BRAC. She has been working as a driver at BRAC for the last two years, after receiving a six-month training from BRAC driving school.
“I used to be very shy and was scared to even go to school all by myself,” she says with a smile. “But I am confident enough now to drive a car in the capital on my own and I think I am good at doing this.” Minoti is one of the earning members of her family. She pays the school fees for her two nephews who now live with her parents and younger sister.
Driving through the busy roads of Dhaka, naturally draws a lot of unwanted attention toward a woman. “I don't care what the other drivers (male counterparts) are thinking about me. I keep my eyes on the roads and drive," said she with a grin.
When she first came to BRAC driving School for her training, people in her village were surprised. For a girl who could not go to school alone, choosing driving as a profession was quite brave. Now she stays in a rented house in Mohakhali all by herself and supports her family in Rangamati. This profession has given her an identity of her own which she feels is very important.
What she enjoys the most is the fact that people in her village now treat her like a star. These were the same people who initially said driving was not a respectable job for a woman. But with time, she has been able to change that attitude towards her profession.
There are many 'Minotis' in Bangladesh who are breaking stereotypes to bring change in the society. They are the true #powerwomen of our country.
The writer is Manager, Communications, BRAC.