The second batch of women station fire officer trainees on Thursday began the first day of their 10-month-long training programme at the State training centre of the Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services Department at Tambaram Sanatorium.
M. Kavitha, R. Parimala Devi and A. Rajalakshmi are the 3 women among 14 persons selected through a rigorous selection process conducted by the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission in 2012. They hail from modest backgrounds and have overcome several odds, discouragement and financial problems.
A first-generation learner, 25-year-old Kavitha is a postgraduate.
“I wanted to join any one of the uniformed services of the government and my parents and sisters were my source of strength and motivation,” said Ms. Kavitha, the eldest of the three daughters of Mathiazhagan, who runs a cycle repair shop in their native village in Tirukazhukundram.
“We know our training will be tough, but we are ready to face it,” said a confident Parimala Devi (29), who hails from Arni in Tiruvannamalai district.
Daughter of an advocate, Malarvizhi holds a masters degree in engineering and said she preferred to join the fire services department over potential lucrative offers in the private sector as this was more challenging and at the same time, a service too.
Thirty-year-old Rajalakshmi has two daughters, the eldest is in class I and the younger one is in L.K.G. “Leaving them at home and coming here was not easy. I miss them very much,” she said.
The Madurai native said she was looking forward to the training. “Without a doubt, it training will be tough, but I will be posted in Cumbum once training is over and then, I can get back to my family,” she said.
Thursday was the first day of their training. Their days will begin early with physical fitness, specific exercises for firemen, classroom lectures, drills and much more.
The three women studied in government or aided schools and said that looking back at the tough times they went through, they were happy now to be bestowed with a great sense of responsibility.
There were people who discouraged them, cautioning them against opting for a career considered to be more suited for men.
“Those days are gone,” said Kavitha. “There is no job we cannot do.”