Here's how a goods delivery platform is providing self-reliance to women

Even Cargo — a delivery and logistics platform is providing livelihoods to about 250 women across the country by providing them opportunities in the logistics and transport sector. Gaon Connection spoke to two of these women from the rural areas who work as delivery persons for e-commerce platforms to find out how the livelihood opportunity has brought about a change in their lives. Details here.

Sarah KhanSarah Khan   23 May 2022 11:33 AM GMT

Heres how a goods delivery platform is providing self-reliance to women

Photos: By arrangement

For Sangeeta Naat, the opportunity to work as a delivery associate couldn't have come at a better time.

The 20-year-old Ajmer resident had been on a lookout for a job after completing her school education so that she could sustain a livelihood for her family of eight.

"A family friend recommended me to apply for the training provided by Even Cargo and now I work as a delivery associate at Flipkart. It was a life-changing decision because now I earn enough to sustain my family and am able to save some money for myself too," Naat told Gaon Connection.

Even Cargo is a Delhi-based all-women logistics platform that trains women from economically weaker sections of society to drive, acquire their own vehicles, and provide them with a job opportunity as dispatch riders. Started in 2016, the organisation trains women in driving, soft skills and logistics. Upon being trained in logistics and provided with financial assistance, these women work as delivery associates with some of the leading e-commerce platforms like Flipkart and Amazon.

"The independence that a job brings in one's life is unparalleled," said Sangeeta. Photo: By arrangement

However the journey wasn't really a bed of roses for Sangeeta. Born and brought up in Rajasthan's Bhilwara, she left her home at an early age due to her father's drinking problem and violent behaviour who wanted to marry her off at the age of 15. She now lives with her maternal grandmother in Ajmer. Naat told Gaon Connection that out of her earning of Rs 14,000, she sends Rs 10,000 back home and saves Rs 4,000 for herself.

"The independence that a job brings in one's life is unparalleled. My uncle's daughters always have to ask him for money even if they have to buy soap for themselves but I can spend my money wherever and whenever I wish and that freedom is what I cherish the most," she told Gaon Connection.

Sangeeta isn't the only one in whose life the training provided by Even Cargo has brought a positive change. Sanjusha Raut is also amongst some 250 women who have been empowered by the social enterprise.

Raut, 35, works as a delivery associate for Amazon in Badnera town of Maharashtra's Amravati. She used to work in a factory in the vicinity of her house where she was employed to do packaging and labelling of the medicines manufactured in the company.

The working hours were long, the salary was low and she lost her job in the midst of the pandemic. Survival became a struggle for her family of four as her husband who worked as a driver also couldn't make ends meet easily.

She heard about Even Cargo when an Amazon delivery guy offered a pamphlet to his sister and told her about the training that Even Cargo provides. "The opportunity landed at the right time and I enrolled myself for it. Now, me and three of my friends work together at Amazon as delivery associates. The pay is Rs 15,000 and it is way better than what I used to earn back in the factory," Raut told Gaon Connection.

According to the data compiled by Even Cargo, women delivery associates earn 15 per cent more than their male counterparts in this venture. The organisation currently employs more than 250 women delivery associates in locations across Delhi-NCR, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Hyderabad, and Madhya Pradesh.

It also aims to expand its venture by training women to become e-rickshaw and e-van drivers.

However, both the delivery associates pointed out that the petrol expenses of the scooter and its maintenance are borne by them. Neither Even Cargo nor the e-commerce platforms they work for bear that cost for them which leads them to spend at least Rs 3,000- Rs 4,000 out of their pockets on a monthly basis.

"A few months back, I met with an accident and ended up fracturing my hand. I had to sit at home for two months and I couldn't work. Though none of the companies helped with the medical expenses, I didn't lose my job. I was allowed to join as soon as I got better," Raut pointed out.

Additionally, Naat told Gaon Connection that while the working conditions are good and she gets enough time to pursue her graduation from a local college, the most fascinating part of the job, according to her, is the surprise on people's faces whenever she goes to deliver the products.

"I always see people surprised whenever they see that there's a woman instead of a man who has come to deliver a product," she told Gaon Connection. On questioning about her response to them, she replied, "I just thank them with a smile and leave."

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