With Every Parcel Delivery, India’s First ‘Delivery-Women’ Company Is Breaking Gender Norms

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For women in Delhi, the national capital now rechristened unofficially as the “rape capital”, their ambitions are always met with an inevitable question – Does the city offer a safe space for her women? In recent years, the growing reports of sexual violence have curtailed the career goals of many young women. The worst sufferers were those who belonged to the economically weaker section, with not many educational degrees and skillsets to opt for a decent job. Sheerly out of safety concerns and gender bias, families consider it a better option to confine their daughters to the home and train them to be the ‘perfect bride’.

Yogesh Kumar, a women empowerment crusader from Delhi, was determined to liberate these women from the shackles of fear and restrictions. Thus was born Even Cargo, India’s first logistics company which recruits only delivery girls.

In the age of thriving e-commerce, we are well-accustomed to seeing delivery executive men on two-wheelers plying through our cities and knocking on our doors. Now imagine opening the door to a delivery girl holding your parcel with a smile. This has been a reality in Delhi-NCR for the past two years, thanks to Even Cargo. Since 2016, around twenty-five delivery-women from Even Cargo are proving their mettle and scripting history in a chiefly male-dominated field. “We also have started our operations in Jaipur and have plans to expand in Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat as well,” informs Yogesh Kumar, in a conversation with Efforts For Good.

Yogesh Kumar, founder of Even Cargo, at Singapore International Foundation

Breaking the gender stereotypes

The need for economic integration of women in the country’s workforce was something that prodded Yogesh Kumar, while he was working as a production engineer with a German corporate. So, after pursuing a degree in social entrepreneurship, he launched Delhi OYE: Open Your Eyes – a non-profit to combat gender disparity. “Our prime agenda was to create safe public spaces for women,” shares Yogesh. His first initiative of starting an all-women cab-service, only catering to women passengers, did not match up to the expectations, mainly because very few women were licensed drivers and even fewer could afford a vehicle of their own.

Yogesh always wanted to sensitise the masses about women emancipation, starting from the grassroots level. Providing employment to the women was a boost in the right direction. “Then again, I did not want to train women in tailoring or handicrafts, which has been the traditional norm. My wish was to establish women at par with men, breaking the stereotypes.” That’s when the idea of Even Cargo occurred to Yogesh. His team went door to door, inviting young girls from resource-strapped families. “There again, we were met with apprehensions from the parents, who were solely worried about the safety of their daughters,” he reveals.

Community mobilization by Even Cargo team

That’s why the Even Cargo core team designed a foolproof training programme for the girls which included compulsory self-defence classes. The working hours for the employees are very convenient, with no delivery encouraged beyond 6 PM. Also, the company mostly co-ordinates with women-centric online shopping sites, so that both the delivery-women and the customers can feel at ease. “Not only homes, but our girls are also now delivering to offices, hostels and other institutions as well. Thankfully, we have not encountered any major trouble regarding the safety of our employees which helps to dispel the myth that all public spaces are unsafe for women,” Yogesh declares proudly.

One of the soft skills training sessions by Even Cargo

How Even Cargo is changing lives

With a humongous backpack filled with 30 to 70 packages of diverse shapes and sizes, the young heroes wheel through the city in their scooters, braving the sun and dust throughout the day. More often than not, they are greeted by amazed customers with a swarm of appreciation and encouragement.

Even Cargo delivery center

“Tabassum, who hails from a very conservative family residing in a slum, had to battle hardships all her life. Her father’s paltry income of Rs 9000 a month failed to make ends meet for the family of eleven. After she joined Even Cargo, the income nearly doubled for the family. She even opened a bank account for the first time and bought her own ‘Scooty’,” narrates Ekta, the strategic partnership associate at Even Cargo.

“For most of the women, Even Cargo has opened a new dimension altogether. They are supporting their families, while many are enrolling in different courses to continue their studies with own earnings,” Yogesh continues, “In fact, their financial stronghold has helped them become the decision-makers of the family.”

The story of Shakuntala is equally moving. A single mother with two kids, she had been supporting her family with irregular income from odd jobs, till Even Cargo employed her. And now she is serving as an inspiration to countless women like her.

‘Women empowerment’ to ‘women empower’

A recent study revealed that the integration of women in the workforce can substantially increase the GDP of India. Even Cargo is a first-of-its-kind company which has not only employed so many women, but they are also creating a positive network of awareness wherein other young girls are stepping into the shoes of confidence and empowerment. Even Cargo has successfully kickstarted nothing less than a revolution in the workforce and will continue to bolster more women towards uninhibited success.

“The narrative has to change from ‘women empowerment’ to ‘women empower’. Only a substantial change in the career demography for women can change the mentality of the people. They need to realise that women do not need empowerment anymore, rather they are now empowering others. Only then we can boast of a true change in the society,” Yogesh signs off.

Also Read: When Drought Hit Their Husbands’ Jobs, These Feisty Village Housewives Stepped Up To Run Their Families

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2,00,000 meals served
Emergency funds sent to 350 families, 75000+ meals served, 150+ ration kits and sanitary pads distributed
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote

Goonj Is Working With 1000’s Of Volunteers & Partner NGOs To Provide Covid-19 Relief In 18 States

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With the extension of the lockdown the crisis of migrant labourers and daily wagers has just grown bigger due to uncertainty and fear of future. In the migrant colonies, slums and for people in the villages hunger and desperation is building up day by day. This is high time we step up our efforts to support our people who are in dire need of food and hygiene essentials to survive the pandemic, Covid-19.

After the India-wide lockdown, a lot of jobless migrant workers are stuck in cities with hardly any resources while many started retreating back to their villages. With the loss of livelihoods, a large number of them are now struggling to support their families.

Goonj activated its pan India teams and a pan India network of partner organizations and volunteers in urban and rural India. This network, built over the last two decades, helps them learn from the ground, reach material quickly and review and adapt strategy periodically. Intensifying this network has helped Goonj reach and start work across 17produced states/UT in the last three weeks.
Support the cause you care for. Browse All CampaignsBrowse all campaigns
2,00,000 meals served
Emergency funds sent to 350 families, 75000+ meals served, 150+ ration kits and sanitary pads distributed

Goonj’s focus: 

Majority of the Covid-19 relief work by non profits right now is in the metros and cities but Goonj is the only non profit that is also simultaneously focusing on the people in the villages and the ones stuck on highways or somewhere.

Goonj is targeting daily wagers, migrants and other vulnerable groups, who even traditionally are left out like the disabled, sex workers, LGBTQ community.

“COVID-19 is a crisis, yes…But, it’s also an opportunity for us to build the society anew. Not ‘for’ the people…but, ‘with’ the people. And in the process, we will build ourselves too.” – Anshu Gupta, Founder-Director, Goonj.

Direct Monetary and Material Transfer

Wherever Goonj got the permission to open their centres for packing and disbursement of relief material kits, they are creating a kit consisting of 20-30 kgs material including dry rations, masks, sanitary pads and other hygiene material and reaching them to people, as per needs and as per regulations with all safety precautions. This kit will help a family survive for 30 days.

Information till 10th April 2020:

  • Distributed 15,100 ration kits reaching thousands of people
  • Reached 17,700 families
  • Supporting 12 community kitchen across India with 16,600kgs of ration
  • 77,800 food packets provided to migrant laborers and daily wagers walking on the roads across the country.
  • Provided direct financial support to 32 organisations
  • Made 42,800 cloth face masks
  • 24,900 cloth sanitary napkins produced
  • Produced 1500 litres of organic sanitiser

In Goonj’s processing centers its trained team of women are making cloth face masks and cloth sanitary pads (MY-Pads), keeping all the precautions and with the permission and cooperation of the local authorities.

In this lock-down phase if you are facing any difficulty getting sanitary pads or you are running out of stock, here’s a detailed but very simple process of making Cloth Pads at home created by Goonj. “This is how we make Goonj MY Pads.” This is how our mothers and grandmothers turned their spare cloth into pads.

This disaster, unlike any other, is unprecedented in its scale and impact and that’s why we all must do our bit with Goonj to continue its relief work for millions of people in this still unfolding long-tailed disaster.

The need is huge.. We are there.. Need You too !!

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It's not how much we give
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- Mother Theresa Quote
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