“Driving” Women Empowerment through Skills

Revathi Roy, Co-founder – Heydidi & Zaffiro Learning

A Post Graduate in Economics, Revathi never ever imagined that her passion for driving would eventually become a bread winner career for her and many others especially women.

A challenge with her friends helped set up the 1st ever women’s taxi service in India, only to be followed by the giants of the industry in the years to come. 

Having worked in Print Media, Manufacturing, Women’s empowerment projects, Education, Non Profit and Government bodies and being on Mentoring Boards of various Institutes as part of their entrepreneurship cell, Revathi  has learnt the entire gamut of Mobilizing, Sourcing Training, mentoring of women to ensure that skilling for employability is achieved over various professions, mainstay being driving and training women to become commercial Taxi drivers.

Revathi Co-founded Zaffiro Learning, an Employability skilling Company where women from Below Poverty Line (BPL) families get an opportunity to make a living by driving. Quite connected to this was the launch of Heydidi.in, a platform service that connects commuters with riders and also allows customers to arrange parcel, package and envelope deliveries upto 5 kgs in real time and in a hassle free method.

In the process of building these companies Zaffiro Learning and Heydidi , various interactions with policy makers and regulatory bodies, she has built several contacts that helped her understand a few laws and create new ones. ‘Women taxi Drivers permits’ in the Government of Maharashtra, West India is one of them, quite recently introduced. It’s the offline arrangement for women who want to become cab drivers. “Efforts are on right now to bring down the time period of 12 month to acquire a Transport license and make it skill based and not time based”, says a proud Revathi.

She has also been a consultant for several start-ups and small businesses in the areas of Business Strategy, Sales Strategy, Branding & Marketing Strategy and Product Development.

Revathi holds a Certification for Defensive Driving Trainer from Applied Driving Techniques- UK. She is passionate about Women’s Empowerment, enjoys sharing her experiences, speaking to students and aims to strengthen the new landscape with women driven cabs across India.  Here are some more thoughts from Revathi.

Do you feel there are more opportunities for women today to create a niche for themselves?
Of course, where was there any opportunity for women to become drivers or riders and make a living. Today every such opportunity is being taken up by the women and i am also seeing that with a little bit of mentoring to the families they allow the girls to work and also encourage them.

Who is your greatest inspiration and why?
My inspiration is not any one person, but all of these women who chose to give me 6 months of their life to try a new profession. And there have been thousands of them. I may have ideated and started but was it even possible to reach this stage without their support. No chance.

What is that one milestone in your life that makes you happy?
Validation by the regulatory authorities that we are on the right track.

If you were to turn back /re-live any one moment in your life, what would that be? 
Wouldn’t want to make a lot of mistakes that i have made in my life.

Women are usually address as the “better half”, what do you think about this? 
Isn’t it great that its “better half” could have been “worse half” so it only means that we are THE BEST whether you like it or not J