Turning the curve

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 refugee background communities in Porirua, the Hutt and Wellington. ChangeMakers former Programme Coordinator 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 driver’s 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.  

Selection Criteria

Turning the Curve is for women between 25 and 54 years old who have been in NZ for 2 years. 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 CURRENLTY 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.

Our Sponsors

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

Learn more

Listen to RNZ’s coverage of the ‘Turning the Curve’ programme here.