Puketapapa Community Driving School
PCDS - a case study of its impact
Khin Khin Kyaw Wai is a 45-year-old refugee from Yangon in Burma. She has been in New Zealand since 2009 along with her husband and son, with a second son since born here. As with all refugees, they stayed at the Mangere Refugee Centre on first arriving in Auckland. During this time Khin learned her driver licence theory in her native tongue although she was tested in English. Having successfully passed her theory test, she then faced the challenge of practising her practical driving skills before she could sit her final test and gain her restricted licence. Although she was highly motivated, she also felt overwhelmed by the difficulties of developing her driving skills. Without her licence, she had to rely on her partner to drive her if she needed to go somewhere such as taking her son to school, buying groceries or visiting friends.
As often happens, life’s events such as a new baby also intervened, which meant a delay in achieving this goal. When her second son started school in 2016, Khin renewed her resolve and set out to complete her qualification. She started having driving lessons with friends about 10 months ago. It was very challenging to learn the road codes because her English was still poor and she didn’t know anything about cars.
She bought a driving lesson DVD from VTNZ and learnt all the lessons and road codes. She then took five driving lessons with a private driving instructor, costing her $350 which was beyond her budget. A helpful cousin helped her to supervise her driving at least 2 or 3 times a week. However, she still felt very scared of taking the restricted driver licence test, especially as some of her friends had already failed it four or five times.
An aunty who is a leader in the local Burmese community had heard about the Puketapapa Community Driving School (PCDS) and encouraged her to enrol in the programme.
Following five PCDS driving sessions and three mock tests, Khin finally got to go for her driving test. In spite of being extremely nervous, she passed on her first attempt. With her restricted licence, she is now determined to make the most of her new independence. She is currently completing an English language course and once she feels she has sufficient language skills, she intends to pursue her dream of training to become a hairdresser.
Khin is extremely positive about her experience with PCDS both for its modest charges and the skilled, supportive help she received from her PCDS-qualified instructor and volunteer mentors.
Update - July 2018
- more than 170 people have used the PCDS car for driving lessons so far; at least 7 have passed their Restricted and 5 their Full licences to date
- there are more than 100 people on the waiting-list, mainly due to the lack of a second car
- 123 are female, 40 are male
- 112 paid full fees, 58 were subsidised
- 30 participants are aged under 25 years; 5 Sri Lankan, 4 Indian, 6 Chinese, 3 Burmese, 1 Tunisian, 1 Samoan, 5 African, 4 Filipino, 1 Middle Eastern
- 51 women are former refugees; 40 African, 4 Arabic, 1 Pakistani, 1 Palestinian, 1 Burmese, 1 Jordanian, 2 Afghani, 1 Sri Lankan
- 10 men are former refugees; 1 Iraqi, 4 Burmese, 4 African, 1 Thai
- 60 women are migrants: 22 Filipino, 18 Indian, 2 Indonesian, 6 Chinese, 5 Burmese, 1 Singapore Malay, 1 Latina, 1 South Asian, 2 Sri Lankan, 1 Vietnamese, 1 Iranian
- 19 men are migrants:4 Indian, 7 Filipino, 2 Fiji Indian, 1 Sri Lankan
- four (1 man, three women) are NZ-born
PCDS - the idea that came of age
In collaboration with our partner organisations, PETER is developing and administering a community-based driving school to provide a low-cost way for Puketapapa residents to successfully complete their driver licences.
The Puketapapa Community Driving School is a collaborative PETER initiative involving partnerships with Migrant Action Trust, Umma Trust, the Rule Education Trust, Wesley Community Centre and English Language Partners
On December 5, 2017 PCDS was officially launched at the Roskill Youth Zone on Sandringham Road. The launch attracted a lot of PETER supporters and Puketapapa residents. The day included the official cutting of the ribbon of the first PCDS car by the Chair of the Puketapapa Local Board, Harry Doig.