Vasantha Kumari has been driving buses for 23 years now, making her Asia’s first woman bus driver. While she started it because that was the only way to make money, she also had a passion for driving.
Her story begins at the Southern-most tip of india, Kanyakumari, where she was born. When she was very young, her mother died and her father remarried. At 19, she got married to a man with four daughters, and later had two children of her own, in Chennai. Her husband worked as a construction laborer, while she took care of the children and also was the secretary at the Mahalir Mandram, a women’s group.
In March 1993, she joined the crew at the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation as the first woman bus driver. She was not given any special concessions, either. For instance, she still drives on the Nagercoil-Thiruvananthapuram route regularly, ending her shift at 10 PM. The winner of the recent Raindropss women Achiever Award will be retiring in April 2017. Her plans after that include starting a driving school dedicated to women.