New Zealanders from refugee backgrounds participating fully in New Zealand life
Turning the Curve Programme (Women's Driver Licencing)
Luz Amalia Restrepo, the first person to obtain her restricted licence from our programme.
Set up in 2011, Turning the Curve is a driver licence training programme for women from refugee backgrounds. They receive lessons from qualified driving instructors and then practice with their volunteer until they are ready to get their licence.
It was informed by a steering group of women from the refugee communities in Porirua, the Hutt and Wellington. ChangeMakers' Naomi Tocher met with these women to hear what they needed most to help with refugee resettlement. Naomi explains that they unanimously said the same thing:
“For them the most important thing, their number one priority to get on with life in NZ, was to get their drivers licence, so they could be like other NZ women.” - Naomi Tocher, ChangeMakers
The driving licence programme is led by an advisory group of women from communities and women who have taught refugee-background learners to drive.
Turning The Curve is for women between 25 and 54 years old who have been in NZ for 2 years by January 2019. The women selected onto the programme have access to a car (they don't need to buy their own but need to be able to borrow from a friend or family member) at least twice a week for practice.
APPLICATIONS ARE CLOSED! If you are interested, please contact us at TTC@crf.org.nz and send us your contact details (Name - email address - postal address - phone number). You will be notified when applications re-open, either by email or postal service.
We are seeking remarkable women to build on a former refugee woman's formal driving lessons by helping them practice. Are you keen to volunteer? Get in touch with us via TTC@crf.org.nz to receive more information on the programme.
“Look at this as an opportunity for you to support these women, to make a real difference in their lives.” - Naomi Tocher
The programme is possible due to the generosity of Wellington women who have committed to sponsoring individual learners to cover the cost of professional lessons. Most of the sponsors have agreed to continue sponsorship for a further two years to help sustain the project. We are extremely grateful for their support.
We also express our huge thanks to the continued support for the programme from Good Shepherd New Zealand.
Listen to RNZ's coverage of the 'Turning the Curve' programme here.
Read our participants stories below:
Our Board members with Wellington Mayor Justin Lester and MP Golriz Ghahraman
Our Board is governed by people from refugee backgrounds who represent the interests of former refugees generally rather then their communities specifically. We also have 20% representation from other communities.