Mitchell’s Plain has been called on to make history by uniting to buy a car to teach women to drive and become entrepreneurs in the transport industry.
Ladies Own Transport, a company registered by community activist Joanie Fredericks, is the culmination of dozens of women passing their learner drivers’ test and needing a cost-effective way to learn to drive.
Ms Fredericks, a Tafelsig resident and founder of Mitchell’s Plain Impact Association (MPIA) and NEAD (Now Empowering Achievable Dreams)’said the learner licence project, has been set up as a social enterprise, so that profit generated would be used to fund social services for previously disadvantaged communities.
The launch will take the form of a gospel event at which they hope to raise funds to buy a car for the company to teach women to drive and to secure jobs for them.
It will all be happening at Olifantshoek community centre, in Tafelsig on Saturday August 4 between 3pm and 7pm. Tickets cost R100 for adults, R350 for two adults and four children, and R50 for children younger than 14. Refreshments will be on sale.
“We will first empower and then employ less privileged people, mainly women, at a fair wage,” she said.
Ms Fredericks said she realised years ago that to hold workshops focused on upliftment issues alone was not enough and that it was essential to empower women to put food on their tables.
She said they have therefore decided to marry community development and economic empowerment so that women can play a meaningful role in the South African economy.
The idea to launch a company came during learner driver’s licence classes, which Ms Fredericks started in January. Since then more than 40 women have passed, many of them with full marks.
Sumaya Adams, 50, from Eastridge, who passed her learner’s licence test earlier this month, said she attended about 15 classes and that she was determined to be independent.
“There is a bakkie I can drive but I need my licence,” she said.
Ms Adams, who has two adult children, said she no longer wanted to rely on them and her husband to take her where she needed to be.
She said the classes were not just about learning to pass your learner’s licence test, but also about women coming together in a safe space, where they could share skills, their hopes and dreams.
Ceceline Seale, from Searidge Park, has her learner’s licence and is learning to drive. She is skilled in administration and information technology, she is motivated to help get the company off the ground.
“We have seen women attend and stay away from classes because they need to drive but also because they face some sort of crisis and then it needs to be put on the back-burner,” she said.
Farahnaaz Hendricks, from Tafelsig, who has her learner’s licence, said women faced several financial demands: “A mother as a breadwinner is always the last one standing, with unfulfilled dreams.”
She said mothers would rather put the money away to put their children through school or send them to driving school, than themselves.
She said there were many possibilities for women with driver’s licences.
“They could transport pupils, chauffeur or provide shuttle services,” she said.
To buy tickets to the fund-raiser, or for more details, you can contact Ms Fredericks on 076 921 6767 or Ms Seale on 063 884 6661.