How to solve the problem:
The problem isn’t simple enough to simply be done away with overnight, and if it were it might not have been as pressing and immediately in need of solving. The first step might be involve providing the truck driver with the dignity he deserves. This might feel like a tall order but changing the way these drivers are seen on the day-to-day is the most integral step in providing them with the very basic human dignities that will allow them to escape daily tragedies and abuses. This might seem difficult to go about doing, but here’s where we can start:
- Unionization – Truck drivers need to be incorporated into a well-founded, organized workers union that can help in one part unite them, and in the other, help them negotiate with employers in terms of workers’ rights, presentation and help give them a recourse in the case of public and private abuse
- Representation in the job market – transport industries can do more to glamorize the job, and in doing so highlight the complexities and nuances associated with the industry. The licensing for heavy duty vehicles, skills training and quick thinking required are not to be underestimated.
Beyond just the external aspects of how these people are treated, their needs to be a change in the internal mechanism that truck drivers need to navigate as employees within the transport industries. These systematic reforms must entail a change in the rhetoric, from profit at the expense of the individual, to profit with, and for, the individual. It might feel impossible, but here’s where we can start:
A. Driver se Pilot –
- A modular flagship education programme which would help not only the employee, but employers and onlookers understand the nobility of the profession.
- It involves several basic componenets
- Health, wellness and emergency training – Units discussing first-aid, mechanical training, emergency training in the case of accidents, and a nutrition guide on how to maintain a healthy diet in unknown regions.
- Safety Processes – Basic guides on how to handle various kinds of cargo, how to use safety gear, precautions in case of specific encounters, manuals for reporting problems to local and internal authorities
- Financial Planning – A problem in many parts of India is a lack of formal financial planning, and a guide for truck drivers in terms of how to manage income, manage accounts, use stipends for journeys efficiently, etc. can help generate long-term benefits.
- Behaviour guides – A general set of instructions on how to behave in different regions, how to manage different customs, regional guides for areas to avoid, and contact information for local authorities as well as common phrases in the local vernacular to help aid communication.
- The programme is modular, with each unit being taught independently, in a range of locations and teaching conditions to accomadate the working habits of truck drivers
- This involves 6-8 hours of one on one sessions in the language the driver is most comfortable with in order to ensure speedy and efficient communication, as well to avoid making the driver uncomfortable
- The programme would have a certificate as a means of guaranteeing progress, as well as a ‘Sone ka tamga’ or a medal, as means of helping the drivers feel accomplished.
- The drivers would be enrolled in a common database to help us keep track of them, and to help them form a point of communication in case of issues.
- It was important for us to realize that human intervention supercedes any number of presentations that we could give in a santized room, and to that end we have created Jalsa, to emphasize the most important aspect of any individuals life: health and safety.
- Rang-Bhumi – A street play performed by volunteers at truck terminals, congregation points and various other places where truck drivers have common terminations to help drive the message of safety and health home in an easy to consume manner.
- Aamne- Saamne– A musical song programme about health and safety with a twist on folk music
- Truck Lipi – A handbook and guide for truck drivers to handle various situations.
Our Pilot Interventions
A trucker’s drivers job is necessarily stressful and doesn’t permit them much time to get regular health check-ups, and consequently many develop eye and vision related issues that aren’t investigated until it is far too late.
- Additionally, the lifestyle involves sitting for long hours, and uncomfortable sleeping posture. This can lead to headaches, migraines, poor vision, spinal damage, and psychological damage.
- As a solution, we decided to bring eye check-up camps to the drivers. We’ve reached out to over 5,000 drivers and hope to reach out to over 100,000 over the next two years.
An exercise programme for staying healthy on the road
- An exercise routine is essential, from walking to an actual routine, and with a life like that of a truck driver, it might not be too easy to accomplish. It would be unfair to say that truck drivers have not developed their own methods – thirty-two laps around a tractor trailer is a little more than 1.5 km, some have turned their trucks into makeshift gyms.
- The point here is that the idea of the “gym without a gym” is entirely possible – exercise videos can be streamed to any internet connected device, an exercise guide is easy to distribute.
A programme to highlight trucker milestones, such as distances covered, form a sort of social media to help them communicate among one another and gain and give advice and discuss common routes and things like that.
This is just a little glimpse into the possibilities available to us in terms of improving the quality of life and status of truck drivers in India, and none of this faces any hope of being accomplished without the communication and cooperation of the public through volunteering efforts. To that end, please find here information about us, our programme and our talented team, and a means to reach out to use to help with our cause because every little thing counts.