Puketapapa Driving School works with refugees and migrant single mothers to help them obtain Mother’s Day permits

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Sarah Uchai moved to New Zealand from the Democratic Republic of Congo and is busy preparing for the road.

Although the confinements have delayed her progress, she is more determined than ever.

“I’m on my learners, working towards my restricted. I really want to get it. That’s my goal, before July I have to have it,” she told Newshub.

She learns to drive thanks to the generosity of the driving school of Puketapapa.

Waka Kotahi recommends at least 120 hours of driving before passing a restricted driving test. But that can be difficult for migrants and refugees who often don’t have access to a car, no driving mentor and no money to pay for a driving instructor.

It costs the school about $1,000 to get one person through the program and the driving school is trying to raise $10,000 on Givealittle to give 10 women the opportunity to celebrate Mother’s Day.

The director of the driving school, Amie Maga, is a migrant herself and, having left the Philippines without a license, she understands the difficulties these women face.

“Getting a license helps them successfully relocate to New Zealand, move around, gain independence and gain employment opportunities.”

Maga said that without help, the financial barrier can force women into dangerous situations.

“We have a single mum who has been here for almost 10 years now and every day she drives, every day she is afraid that she will be caught driving by the police with a learner’s permit.”

Zahra Ahmadi left Iran for New Zealand with her three children. She also learns to drive with the school.

She told Newshub that soon she won’t have to rely on her friends to get to doctor’s appointments or go to the supermarket.

Uchai and Ahmadi agree, their main motivation is their children.

“Now that I’m a mom, I have to look forward to driving to work, school and dropping her off at daycare.”

Because learning to drive is one of the keys to a better life.


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