Get­ting women be­hind the wheel

Daily News - - METRO -

PERSEVERANCE, ded­i­ca­tion and a heart of gold. This sums up Joanie Fred­er­icks, an ac­tivist from Mitchells Plain who not only founded a driv­ing school for women be­cause she wanted to em­power them, but also started para­medic train­ing for women be­cause am­bu­lance driv­ers were too scared to en­ter their area.

Re­cently the driv­ing school cel­e­brated the ac­qui­si­tion of its first car, af­ter a year of fundrais­ing.

Fred­er­icks, the founder of Ladies Own Trans­port, reg­is­tered the com­pany, which has since pro­vided train­ing to hun­dreds of women.

When the project started last year, she was over­whelmed by the huge re­sponse she re­ceived. The youngest stu­dent who reg­is­tered for the classes was 17, while the old­est was 64.

“For me, it was great to see that all these women were eager to drive and be­come in­de­pen­dent. Many women have since passed their driv­ing tests. It is great be­cause many of them come from dis­ad­van­taged com­mu­ni­ties. There was a huge need in the com­mu­nity for this driv­ing school.

“Now, af­ter the ef­forts of the women, we have our own car, which we can use for driver train­ing. In mak­ing this dream be­come a re­al­ity, we had to over­come a lot of strug­gles.

“Some women also have cars, but never went for driv­ing lessons, so they did not learn to drive. Now they will be able, for in­stance, to drive to the mall to do their shop­ping,” Fred­er­icks said.

She added that the women who re­ceived med­i­cal train­ing now knew first aid and could save a per­son’s life in the event of a knife or gun wound.

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