R. Venkatesh

R. Venkatesh residing at, ward 138, # 226 1st Main flower garden, Mysore Road Bengaluru 560 018 is a 36 years old rickshaw driver. He is married, has 2 daughters and takes care of his mother who lives with him. Venkatesh has been a driver for over 7 years. He has always rented a vehicle. His income per day was around Rs 400 – 500. After payments of the rental fees and fuel, he is left with Rs 200 to 250. Also he was only able to use the vehicle for 6 to 8 hours a day. Given his financial situation, he was never able to raise an auto loan because of loan sharks and high interest rates on bank loans. All these issues had led to a lack of self-confidence. Over 2years ago, Venkatesh got enrolled into the NammaAuto program. After a period of time, he got an affordable loan (04/07/12) via TWU. He got a new auto-rickshaw registered in his name which made him feel a sense of ownership. His daily income increased to 800 Rs per day, he now has no restriction to shifts. He now has a savings account and has received extra revenue from other services offered by TWU like advertisement on his auto-rickshaw. When we asked about his feelings, he said “this program has been a turnaround in my life. I have learned so many new techniques in marketing and living a disciplined life. Meeting other auto drivers and sharing their successes and challenges has equipped me better for my job. I now get referred by many commuters and I earn more. God bless NammaAuto” After 24months (01/07/2014), Venkatesh completed the loan payments and is now the sole owner of the auto-rickshaw. He still remains part of our network and benefits from other services we offer. During a family visit, the family members related that the new sense of recognition they are getting is immense. Neighbours and friends have started respecting them for the improvement they achieved in such a short span, the children are very proud that their father owns his own auto. Venkatesh’s wife is also actively involved in the community building activities. During the interview she relates that Venkatesh is a changed human being, earlier due to difficult circumstances and financial pressure he used to be very short tempered, now he comes home with a smile and that in itself is a blessing the family has got. Venkatesh has dreams to educate his children to the very highest level; he wants them to become a pilot and an IAS officer.