Some heroes walk where there is no path and leave a trail, but Lata is a hero who left tire treads! This is the incredible story of Lata who defied all odds to fulfill her destiny and drives a monster 60 tonne dump truck in a land where time and traditions were against her.
Lata’s story had a beginning in 2009 when Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC), a joint venture between the Government of Sindh and Engro Energy was formed. SECMC was established with the primary objective of making effective use of the vast coal reserves in the Thar Desert to meet Pakistan’s power generation needs. SECMC’s success, it was hoped, would spur economic development regionally and nationally, save valuable foreign exchange and bring critical energy security to the country.
What has set SECMC apart from the beginning is its Corporate Social Responsibility activities. SECMC has provides targeted interventions in areas of education, health, Livelihood and Skill Development for maximum possible social progress of the communities around its operations. It was the part of just such a livelihood and gender intervention where Lata and SECMC’s paths crossed.
In 2017 SECMC inked a contract with MCCT Associates to train selected Thari women drivers on professional grounds to launch the Thari Female Dump Truck Driving Program. Dump Trucks are massive 60 tonne trucks used to clear the SECMC mine of dirt so as to gain access to the coal. Eventually they will be used to ferry the coal out. The selected candidates are undergoing comprehensive training modules including languages modules comprising of English, Urdu, and Chinese languages, technical module, and auto-basic module, for one year which would be followed by a regular job with all facilities the company offers to its employees.
Lata who hails from Mithi in Thar saw the poster asking for Thar Female Dump Driver candidates and decided to apply. She defied societal expectations to apply, get selected and get enrolled in the demanding program which includes driving the truck. She expanded her horizons and through her initiative is now a trailblazer who will be expanding Thar’s horizons.