OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN: Sophia Mphuthi, Driving school owner
Sophia Mphuthi started her driving school from her home in Kimberley in 2009, with the support of the Zimele program, which was launched in South Africa that year.
The program enabled Sophia to buy a truck and a car so that she could offer truck driving lessons to people in the local community. In 2011, further Zimele funding helped finance a second truck.
In 2014, Sophia trained 503 people, with a 90% pass rate in the driving exam. More than half of the students were women. She also runs her own social responsibility program, offering free tuition to women and young people from the community who cannot afford to pay for driving lessons.
Later that year, Sophia received accreditation from the Transport Education and Training Authority; and in 2015, her Excellence Driving Academy was awarded a skills program to train fifty unemployed young people in the Northern Cape region.
“My business has achieved the highest service levels in this industry, due to the fact that I started my business with brand new vehicles and was able to give the best possible service,” Sophia says. “I have learnt a lot of business skills through the Zimele mentoring program and I have learnt how to create possibility, even where there is none.”
“It is very important in Kimberley - in the Northern Cape actually - for us to have driving schools because every company nowadays requires joiners to have a driving license,” she says. “We must help our children to get their driving license; it increases work opportunities for their future.”
Despite all the demands of running a successful business, Sophia still loves to drive and to teach, and she still gives lessons to some of her lucky students.
SOPHIA MPHUTHI AND ALICE MANDIWANA
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