An inspirational story of India’s first differently-abled woman auto driver

Ankita Shah is the first Indian differently-abled woman auto-rickshaw driver.  She lived in Palitana and moved to Ahmedabad for employment.

Ankita lost her leg to polio when she was just one year old. Her legs were amputated.

35-year-old Ankita Shah’s life has been a roller-coaster ride strewn with hurdles at every juncture. Her parents supported her education and she got a bachelor’s degree in Economics.

She was the eldest in the family of seven, therefore her responsibilities towards her family were more than the other members. She was rejected by various institutions when she applied for jobs due to her disability. But whenever she got an offer for a job, be it call center, a real estate firm, or a housekeeper in hotels, she accepted them.

Though Ankita deserves and her potentialities were much more than the opportunities she got, her ‘prosthetic limbs’ always became a barrier in her carrier.

It was then she decided to flip her carrier in a total upward down when her father was diagnosed with intestinal cancer in the year 2019, and she was forced to re-write her life and career. Being the eldest in the family and the responsibilities she was into. she needed to be financially independent to support the family. She needed the flexibility to balance work with her father’s treatment. She knew those full-time desk jobs and low salaries would not provide that.

Then, she needed a flexible job that could help her earn on her terms. So, started driving Auto Rickshaw to support her family financially and take care of her father. She was helped by her Friend Lalji Barot, who was also differently-abled, to learn how to drive auto and helped her get customized hand-operated brakes.

She drives auto from 10 am to 8:30 pm in the area between Chandkheda and Kalupur Railway Station and earns Rs.25000 monthly to support her family. She manages the time of her work to take care of her father. And that was when she became the first-ever differently-abled female auto-rickshaw driver in Ahmedabad.

Ankita has become an inspiration for the entire world. Her strength and enduring spirit are heart-winning. She proved the saying “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” by Christopher Reeve.

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