Tamiranashe Women’s College transforms art of driving
SHE sat for a learner driver’s licence test seven times without success only to score the required mark on the eighth attempt. In Zimbabwe, one has to score at least 22 out of 25 in a VID test to obtain a learner driver’s licence (provisional licence). It took Ms Nancy Mbaura (40) of Norton seven sittings for her to score 22 marks, with each sitting requiring a fee of $20.
Along the way she nearly gave up and at one point considered dubious means of acquiring a provisional licence. But she soldiered on with abounding faith, unyielding patience and growing confidence eventually paying dividends.
Today, she is not only one of the few women in Zimbabwe with a clean driver’s licence but a director and principal of a thriving theory driving lessons training college in Norton.
After taking a difficult route to acquire a learner driver’s licence, Ms Mbaura decided to open a driving lessons training college for women, the school which today is the citadel of driving knowledge for many women who now ply our national highways behind the wheel.
The school, Tamiranashe Women’s College is churning out well-groomed and highly disciplined drivers who are not a hazard on the national roads.
“For the past five years the college has been operational we have groomed many women drivers and we keep records of those who would have eventually obtained a driver’s licence.
“In our records so far, we do not have a driver reported to have been involved in a serious road accident. Generally, women are careful drivers but the calibre of women drivers we produce here is second to none,” said Ms Mbaura.
She said she was committed to helping fellow women achieve their dreams adding that obtaining a driver’s licence was one uphill-task that a woman has to overcome.
“It’s only now when men are beginning to appreciate women drivers. It is, however, still very difficult for us as women to obtain a licence because even statistics from the VID show that the majority of people who sit for learner driver’s licence tests are men,” said Ms Mbaura.
She said after struggling to obtain a driver’s licence herself, she decided to help other women get driver’s licences.
“With the economic situation bad as it is, most women cannot afford to pay for a learner driver’s licence test, they would rather use that $20 which is needed for one to sit for the tests to take care of immediate needs.
“Parting with the hard earned $20 becomes more discouraging in a scenario where it’s highly impossible to pass the tests in the first attempt.”
Ms Mbaura said her students pay $5 towards lessons; money which she said is used to buy stationery as well as funding other administrative costs.
She said Norton Town Council welcomed her noble idea of uplifting women and availed facilities they were using as classrooms for free while they were paying utility bills.
The soft-spoken Ms Mbaura said students who fail tests and still want to continue with lessons do so without paying more money.
“My purpose is to help women achieve their dream of driving. This is why they are paying a mere $5 until one obtains a learner driver’s licence,” said Ms Mbaura, adding that only a few have sat for the tests more than two times.
She said some women as old as 80 years were now proud drivers after going through lessons at Tamiranashe Women’s College.
“There are old women who did lessons with us and are now rolling on wheels after obtaining driver’s licences.
‘‘Even men who would have found it difficult to pass are now coming to train with us.
“I opened this college specifically for women but we are now taking a few men so that we don’t appear as if we are completely shutting out men.”
Ms Mbaura said the college has female tutors doing voluntary work. But even Chinhoyi Vehicle Inspection Department have found a perfect client in Tamiranashe Women’s College.
After every two weeks, Chinhoyi VID depot officials bring their services to the school, setting tests at the school with the majority of women reportedly scoring 100 percent in the exams.
“Our students don’t have the hassle to travel to either Chinhoyi or Harare to sit for learner driver’s licence tests, the VID Chinhoyi depot officials occasionally come here to conduct tests and they are making big money with over 300 women sitting for exams per month,” said Ms Mbaura.
An instructor with VID Chinhoyi confirmed that Tamiranashe Women’s College was now their “cash cow” from which they are collecting between $600 and $800 on every visit to the college.
“They are our biggest clients and every time they feel they have a chunk of students who they feel would be ready to sit for tests, they call us and we visit the college and conduct our exams there,” said the official who declined to be named for professional reasons.
Mrs Tabitha Majoni (55), who is now a proud driver after she went through Tamiranashe Women’s College, thanked Ms Mbaura for coming up with what she described as a “brilliant” idea to help women get driver’s licences.
“This idea from Ms Mbaura was brilliant, it has helped many women and we thank God for calling this woman for this,” said Mrs Majoni.
Ms Mbaura is now expanding the scope of the college from not only being the source of empowerment for women drivers but education as well.
She said she was setting up an adult education school and would soon be enrolling female students for adult education.
“We will start with Grade Ones and graduating that same class into Grade Two until we become a fullyfledged adult education school, that’s my dream,” said Ms Mbaura. — Zimpapers Syndication Services.
Ms Nancy Mbaura