“Whatever a man can do, a woman can do it too”
Winifred posing with her certificate from the drivin school, Waterloo, Wester Area Rural.Photo credit, Martha Bangura for Save the Children
On Friday 17 July 2020, Winifred Karim was one of twenty young people and the only female awarded a certificate and driver’s license after successfully completing a professional driving course. Supported by Save the Children through the Gender Bizness Project, these young people were selected from the most vulnerable homes around Freetown for the skills and economic empowerment initiative which aims to provide trainings for employment to empower them and mitigate negative coping mechanisms that lead to adolescent pregnancy.
“I now have first-hand experience of the saying that ‘whatever a man can do, a woman can do it too’.” Said Winifred, age 23 who lives in Aberdeen Freetown; one of six children to her parents. Before her enrollment in the professional driving program, she had no skill and was unemployed. “People tried to discourage me from taking up the driving course, but I wanted to do it, so I ignored them. I challenged them that I would succeed and I got the result I wanted. I passed and I feel so good to be the only woman in the group”.
The Gender Bizness project is a three-year adaptive programme aimed at reducing teenage pregnancy through support to vulnerable youths in Sierra Leone. This is the first set of young people to be trained and certified as professional drivers. The program seeks to provide livelihood skills to 157 youths in the Western Urban and Rural Areas.
Speaking of the changes the project has made in her life Winifred said that she was now optimistic about the future and grateful for the chance to explore and learn new things. She is confident that this new skill will change her life for the better.