From a waste picker to Bengaluru's first woman garbage truck driver: Lakshmi's story of persistance

22nd Jan 2016
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Lakshmi once collected garbage in Bengaluru. She is now on the verge of becoming the city’s first woman driver of a garbage truck transporting segregated waste. This mother-of-three is part of the housekeeping staff at Kempegowda Institute of Medical Sciences and is awaiting a permit to drive a one-tonne truck.

Image: (L) The Hindu; (R) Citizen Matters
Image: (L) The Hindu; (R) Citizen Matters

Thirty-year-old Lakshmi always wanted to learn how to drive. “But I did not have the money to pay the fee to join a driving school. I accompanied my neighbour to Hasiru Dala. They helped me join a driving school in December. My driving licence came on December 31. It was my New Year gift,” Lakshmi told The Hindu.

“I was earlier apprehensive about sitting behind the wheel. Now, I am confident and can drive any vehicle,” Lakshmi says proudly, as she waits to join an army of workers that attempts to keep the garden city clean. Currently undergoing training to drive a heavy transport vehicle (HTV), which is what garbage trucks are, Lakshmi is confident of a bright future. Her 15-year-old daughter Pratibha is a school dropout and also helps sort waste. She is also undergoing a tailoring course. Lakshmi has two sons – Danush (12) and Akash (10) – who are enrolled in a residential school.

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