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Elham AbolFateh
AR
Saturday 27 May 2017

Features

New driving school in Egypt hopes to turn the tide for female drivers

Monday 08/May/2017 - 09:55 AM
Sada El Balad
Edited By: Yara Sameh
Twenty million people compete for space on the crowded roads of Cairo، Egypt -- and while getting a driver's license there is easy، many drivers have no formal training. But there soon could be change coming down the road، CBS news reported.

Eman Gatamiy tried getting driving lessons from her husband. But that didn't quite work out.

"I ask the internet، okay،" Gatamiy told us.

Like many Egyptian women، Eman wasn't willing to be alone in a car with a male instructor. She even brought her husband to meet us.

That lack of instruction gives women drivers a bad reputation in Egypt.

Eman says she struggled behind the wheel for eight years. Then she heard an ad on the radio placed by Nayroud Talaat.

Direxiona، her all-female driving school which was founded last year، promises a more welcoming place to learn.

"Many of the girls are terribly afraid. Afraid of just starting the engine،" Talaat told CBS News.

Cairo's roads will give any driver a fright. Chaotic and congested: with pedestrians … everywhere.

Ghada Mohamed is one of Direxiona's 20 instructors and took us along for a ride.

Are there rules here we asked.

"No، wherever you can go،" Mohamed said.

So pedestrians are allowed to be walking right through the street?

"They are allowed،" she responded. "Nobody says، no you have to stop. Nobody told them... you have to stop until the traffic changes and you pass."

Cairo's roads may remain a mess، but Talaat doesn't want women blamed for it anymore. So far، 150 have been taught by Direxiona.

"We have a bigger goal than just giving the service،" Talaat said. "We want to make something that change this stereotype and change this bad reputation."

"I'm so happy because I learned with Direxiona،" Eman said.

Eman -- who for years didn't take the car outside her neighborhood -- is now working part time as a driver for an Egyptian ride-sharing service.

You're a good driver now. You're speaking English and you're driving.

"It's good?" she asked us. "Easy. Yes!"


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