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An Inspiring Example, S Sumija Is Coimbatore Collectorate’s Only Female Driver

  • IWB Post
  •  June 25, 2019

“I never thought of being in this field when I was younger. Looking back, I am surprised at myself,” shared S Sumija, the only woman driver at the Coimbatore District Collector, who has been driving for the past eight years.

Having grown up in Chennai, Sumija moved to Coimbatore with her family after she completed her senior secondary. “I couldn’t continue my schooling due to financial constraints. I worked in a garment industry for a while and later enrolled for a short-term computer course, which got me a job at a driving school as a clerk.”

And then a vacancy for a female instructor opened up when Sumija enrolled for driving classes and began teaching. “For the first year, the owner was not confident and would accompany me. I worked for five years and resigned after my daughter’s birth.”

Thereafter Sumija registered her name at the employment exchange office as many of her friends did and to her surprise, she received an interview letter for the post of a driver at the Tiruppur Collectorate two and half years later. Although Sumija didn’t get that job, another call bagged her a job at the Sulthanpet Block Panchayat in 2011, where she drove a Mahindra Bolero.

While the initial days didn’t turn out to be easy for Sumija, her family was also not sure whether she had chosen the right career. “No other woman in her family had worked as a driver. But my mother-in-law, who was also working, supported me.”

Talking about the challenges she faced on her first day at work, Sumija shared, “The officer I was to drive for was not convinced about my driving skills and asked another driver to join us.” However, refusing to give up on her passion, Sumija worked there for three and a half years before she was transferred to Madukkarai Block Panchayat.

Ten months ago, Sumija joined the Coimbatore Collectorate and she now drives for the district planning officer. “I drive around 80 kilometers every day now. When there are meetings and inspections, I also drive to Valparai and Ooty.”

Sumija stands as a true example that women have the ability to excel in any field once they set their heart on. Sharing her dreams with The Hindu, Sumija added,  “Firstly, I want to buy a car, preferably an SUV. I am saving money for that. Secondly, I want my child to be an IAS officer when she grows up and be her driver.”

H/T: The Hindu

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