01 September 2013, Dhaka. BRAC, in collaboration with Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), arranged an event named “Four Wheels to Freedom for Women” to discuss the issues relating to the employment opportunities of its woman drivers coming out of the BRAC Driving School. The event was also organised to mark the certificate giving ceremony of 15 freshly graduated women drivers from the school. The event took place at Uttara BRAC Learning Centre, in Dhaka.
BRAC Driving School, a part of BRAC’s Road Safety programme, started out in May 2012 as an institution to create trained drivers and qualified trainers for the roads of the country. In September 2012, BRAC Driving School, in partnership with BRTA, started the project- “Women Steering Forward” to create 600 trained women drivers. 75 of them have completed their training but only 18 of them have been employed so far.
Among the special guests of the event were, Ms. Rokiya A. Rahman, adviser to the former caretaker government and member of the BRAC Governing Body and Mr. Md. Nazrul Islam, Chairman, BRTA. The event was chaired by Mr. S N Kairy, Chief Financial Officer, BRAC & BRAC International.
The event started with a presentation by the Director of BRAC’s Road Safety programme, Mr. A. Najmul Hussain. He mentioned that, we have a severe shortage of skilled and properly trained drivers in our country; maintaining the quality of training in driving schools is also a very important issue. He was of the opinion that if a portion of the car registration fees can be spent in training the drivers then everyone would benefit from it.
One of the special guests, Ms. Rokiya A Rahman shared few of her experiences of driving in the streets among men. She stated that, “Women are not to be held back, the event today is a proof of that.”
Mr. Md. Nazrul Islam noted that, 15 percent of the driving jobs in the government pool are reserved for women drivers; but they (BRTA) do not receive any applications from the women drivers.
The Chair of the event, Mr. S N Kairy, said that BRAC is spending approximately 80,000 BDT for each of these graduates but they should have ample opportunities of employment after they graduate. He called the corporate sector for action in this matter by employing women drivers in their organisations. He also mentioned that, there are plans to send these drivers abroad for employment when the time is right.
All 15 of the women drivers who graduated from the 4th batch of BRAC Driving School received certificates from the special guests of the event.