Tami­ranashe Women’s Col­lege trans­forms art of driv­ing

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Opinion/feature - Fea­ture Free­dom Mu­panedemo

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

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