Breaking stereotypes and driving change!Updated: Jan 24, 2020 18:19 IST
Pooja Yadav, 20, is apparently the only lady school van driver in Meerut and supports her family. After ferrying children, she heads towards her college to pursue her studies
MEERUT The journey of becoming the only woman school van driver of Meerut has been challenging, but now she is breaking the stereotypes and is a role model for many young women.
Pooja Yadav, 20, a BA third year student, attracts a lot of attention and faces curious questions from people as she picks up school children from various localities of Delhi Road area in her van early in the morning. She then heads towards her college to pursue her studies.
Apart from supporting her family by working as a van driver, Pooja also teaches driving as she believes it gives a sense of independence and everyone should know how to drive.
Many parents and teachers vouch for her sense of responsibility and claim that Pooja, at present, is the only female school van driver in the city.
Talking about when and why she started driving, Pooja said: “I’ve been driving since I was 18 and it is one of my hobbies. I started riding a motorcycle when I was in Class 8, under my father’s guidance. Later, he taught me to drive a car.”
“After retirement from the Indian Army, my father used to drive an auto-rickshaw and sometimes a van to pick and drop school children. In 2017, one day my father fell sick. Hence, he asked me to drop the children to school because I was the only one who could drive in my family,” she said.
On her first driving experience as a professional, Pooja said: “Initially, neighbours passed comments that this job is not suitable for a girl. People often made fun of me, but I never got discouraged as my family always supported me.”
“My father is my mentor. I too want to join the India Army,” she said.
“Whenever we go for a family outing, I am the one whom they are dependent upon for driving. But if my sisters also learn how to drive they won’t have to rely on me,” added Pooja who has two elder sisters – Sanju Yadav, 24 and Anu Yadav, 22, who are also studying.
Pooja’s father, Suresh Chandra Yadav, 48, said: “When Pooja drove the van for the first time to drop children to school, parents and teachers were delighted to see her. They asked me that they want her as a driver for their kids.” He said parents feel safe when they send their children with Pooja.
“My kids are in safe hands. When I come across women coming forward in every field, I feel that my daughter is growing in a safer environment,” said Mukesh Tiwari, whose daughter Shuby and son Anmol, go to school with Pooja.
Echoing similar views, Rekha Bansal, principal of Guru Tegh Bahadur Public School (Delhi Road), said: “Pooja is a responsible person. Unlike others who keep waiting for children at the entrance of the school, she goes to each and every class to pick up children. We have never received a complaint of rash driving against her.”
“Pooja is breaking stereotypes and is an inspiration for a lot of young girls,” said Neena Bhatia, principal of another school.