Mr Edmore Nyamhere hands over highway codes pamphlets and booklets to youths undergoing driving lessons through a partnership arrangement between First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa and Ring Driving school in Harare yesterday. Picture: John Manzongo

TO complement First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa’s tireless efforts to keep youths away from dangerous drugs while empowering them to become economically independent, Ring Driving School has partnered the Angel of Hope Foundation in a development expected to create employment, promote road safety and keep young people away from drugs.

The partnership comes at a time when the mother of the nation, who has a passion for the uplifting youths, has been leading from the front to unlock employment opportunities for them and the general citizenry.

Youths undergo provisional driving lessons at Ring driving school, an initiative by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa in partnership with the driving school in Harare yesterday.
Youths undergo provisional driving lessons at Ring driving school, an initiative by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa in partnership with the driving school in Harare yesterday. Picture: John Manzongo

The First Lady is advocating a “Say No to Drugs” campaign, which seeks to encourage youths to stay away from dangerous narcotics.

Of late, the country has been plagued by widespread drug abuse by young people, a situation the mother of the nation is working tirelessly to turnaround through her various empowerment initiatives.

Ring Driving School owner, Mr Onias Sanangura, said they decided to partner the First Lady in appreciation of her efforts to empower the youth.

“We have decided to partner the First Lady’s Angel of Hope Foundation because we have seen her efforts in empowering the youth and women and the disadvantaged. We saw that as a driving school we could chip in, as our mandate is to train and empower the population of Zimbabwe. We saw it fit to partner with her to produce good drivers on the roads so that at the end of the day, these disadvantaged youths can be employable and can come up as entrepreneurs of tomorrow,” he said.

The beneficiaries began their lessons yesterday.

Eddinah Rumeck from Epworth could not hide her joy and said: “I am pleased with this programme from our mother, the First Lady. Every child cry out mentioning the mother’s name showing how important mothers are. Personally, I see myself running a taxi business after acquiring my licence. With the Ordinary Level certificate which l have, l am now seeing myself and other students here aiming higher. Each one of us here is happy with the opportunity we have been given by Amai. We promise to take this programme seriously.”

Equally elated was Panashe Sachikonye of Highfield.

“I do not know how best to thank the First Lady for this gesture. She has given us a chance of a lifetime and may God bless her abundantly,” he said.

The beneficiaries on Friday met with the relevant stakeholders at a launch meeting organised by Amai Mnangagwa.

Those present at the launch were representatives from the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) traffic department; Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development; Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development; and the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, Inspector Munyaradzi Thompson from the ZRP paid tribute to the First Lady for the initiative, which he said would enhance road safety.

 “We appreciate this programme. It gives the youth the empowerment that they need, especially for them to live long on the roads. What does driving include? It includes starting the motor vehicle, moving off, accelerating, steering around and over different road surfaces and terrain, around bends and corners. Out of premises, overtaking other vehicles and progressively through traffic. Most of our drivers on the roads are car movers, not drivers,” he said.

Among the teachings he imparted to the beneficiaries was the need to always stop after an accident, render first aid and protect the corpse if anyone is killed.

They were taught to record particulars of passengers in all vehicles involved, record particulars of independent witnesses, inspect and record damages caused to one’s vehicle, other parties’ vehicles and protect property.

All accidents, it was emphasised, were supposed to be reported as soon as possible and within 24 hours. Drivers were implored to always set a good example to get a long life on the roads.

Similar sentiments were echoed by Mr Clifford Gobo from the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe, who described the First Lady’s vision as timely.

“I want to thank Amai, the First Lady, for coming up with this initiative to empower youths. Once we empower the youths, we will have secured the future. Amai has awakened the desire in these youths to venture into transport business. Once you have acquired your licence, think outside the box, think big and do not put your licence under the pillow.

“As Traffic Safety Council, we are happy with this programme, we pledge our support. We are going to donate highway codes and provide the beneficiaries with lectures for provisional driving licences. After this programme, we want you to enrol for defensive licence. We do not want to see road rage. Safety first and always,” said Mr Gobo.

In a speech read on her behalf by Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Deputy Minister Tino Machakaire, the First Lady said she had partnered Ring Driving School in training the youths to obtain their driver’s licences, showing her zeal to work with anyone who wants to contribute to the betterment of the Zimbabwean citizenry.

The mother of the nation believes in leaving no one behind, and when Mr Onias Sanangura approached her office, she welcomed his noble proposal.

“The prospective driving students were randomly selected from different communities with the aim of empowering the youth in our society. The selection process was free from bias and we did not choose on the premise of background, familiarity, creed or political affiliation. I am a mother to all, working with all to help build our nation,” she said.

One of the key drivers of the Government’s National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), she said, was the establishment of public-private partnerships (PPPs).

“Together we can be the change we want to see in national economic development — driving the economy to attain a sustainable upper middle-class status. Specifically, under the infrastructure and utilities cluster of the NDS1, the Government seeks to reduce road deaths and injuries by 25 percent per annum.

“To achieve this, no one must be left behind in terms of championing road safety since we all use the road as a collective body of travellers,” she said.

Amai Mnangagwa said she was aware that the recently launched United Nations (UN) Second Decade of Action for Road Safety, which runs from 2021 to 2030, highlights road safety as a shared responsibility among Government, academia, civil society, youth, private sector, funders and United Nation agencies.

 “Tied to the fact that the youth are the most mobile age group, research shows that they are the worst affected by road traffic deaths and injuries as passengers, pedestrians and even drivers of motor vehicles. The youth are also worst affected in terms of levels of unemployment in Africa and Zimbabwe in particular. I am pleased by your offer of training our youth to become professional drivers,” she said.

To the beneficiaries, the First Lady encouraged sobriety and respectable conduct.

The mother of the nation said young people who abuse drugs are losing opportunities because they are not allowed behind the wheel.

She said abusing drugs can destroy livelihoods.

“They should abstain from drugs and focus on empowering their lives. Do not abuse the knowledge garnered today. Young boys and girls, it shows that you are of sober habits and do not use drugs. May this never change once employed.”

This is not the first time the First Lady has been involved in driver training.

In March last year, she launched the country’s first ever driver safety training programme targeting women and youths as part of broad-based measures to reduce road carnage.

She is the patron of the National Transport and Drivers Association and a champion of women and youth empowerment.

Recently, she also obtained a class one driver’s licence after undergoing a training course leading other women by example.

Amai Mnangagwa said women should grab opportunities in previously male-dominated fields, including driving public service vehicles, and stamp their authority as equally gifted.

After completing Class 4, Deputy Minister Machakaire said to complement the First Lady’s efforts, he together with his business partners would take the beneficiaries for commercial vehicle driving lessons and facilitate employment for them.

SOURCE: The Herald

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