Indian Women Launch Delhi Taxi Service

A battered housewife, a Muslim widow and an illiterate mother of four are among a group of Indian women looking to carve out a living by breaking into the male preserve of New Delhi taxi drivers.

Hailing from some of the poorest quarters of the Indian capital, they are part of plans to launch the city's first radio taxi-service run by women, in time for the October 2010 Commonwealth Games.

The project is the brainchild of Meenu Vadera of the Azad Foundation, a voluntary group that works with disadvantaged women whose employment prospects - if they exist at all - are usually limited to the world of domestic help.

"We have trained one batch of nine women and the training of another batch of 11 is underway," said Vadera, who aims to have five taxis on the road by February and a fleet of 20 by the time the Games begin.

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Elisabeth Roche