Getting women behind the wheel
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.