Khabar Khair (Only Good News) – Fatima Rashad
With determination, persistence, and defiance, Yemeni women are breaking into professions that are known to be for men, but living conditions forced some of them to break into these professions, including driving buses.
(Absher) is the project of Mrs. Talleah, who was able to establish the building blocks of her first project in the field of delivering customer orders.
Talleah tells Khabar Khair (Only Good News) about her experience, “The idea for the project came out of the suffering I went through when I needed someone to bring me some household items, but I couldn’t find anyone, so the idea started from that point.”
Breaking customs and traditions
Talleah continues: “There is no difficulty facing women as long as there is a spirit of Persistence and determination, because they are able to do a lot, as they can drive a bus, a big (truck) and a tractor truck, but society is the one who restricted them to certain professions, and today we are trying to break customs and traditions. that limit the movement of women in society.
Talleah expanded her project (Absher for delivery), where an integrated team worked with her, because she deals with small business owners to deliver the requests of their customers to the facilities in which they work, and other services entrusted to her and to her team that she formed in recent months.
Talleah says, “What I care about at work is the principle of respect and coordination with customers, because part of the work is prior coordination so that they get their requests without hindrance, because I receive more than one request a day.”
As for the society’s perception of her, she did not face any obstacles from the society, and she mentioned the positive and supportive attitudes of people and said: “A lot of people helped me because I am a woman who drives a bus, and I deliver customers’ requests. Even the traffic guys were of high moral standing, so I did not find any obstacles from them regarding my work.” While delivering orders, I often find them helpful.”
Talleah hopes to reach all governorates of Yemen, and to have more delivery points that serve all people.
And about the beautiful situations that happen to her, she says: “One of the beautiful situations that happened to me is when I find my female bus driver (Faten) we say hello to each other, and the beauty is that we consider a strange situation in society, women driving buses.”
“One day, when I was driving female students to their colleges and some female workers to their workplace, I had an accident، as a result of which the door fell, so I tied it up and continued driving. While driving, the door fell again, so I parked the car and asked the passing men to help me repair the bus door. I was surprised at the time. With the amount of harsh and unfair words against me because I am driving a bus, and I was told: This work doesn’t suit me because I am a woman driving other women, and I work as a bus driver.” This is how Faten Abdel Baqi tells Khabar Khair (Only Good News) about her suffering.
While Talleah had the support of those around her in her project of delivering orders, Faten finds a pejorative attitude of her work and has support of only those close to her, especially women.
Faten has future plans to develop her project, such as driving students of both genders – girls and boys – like the rest of the other buses, and she also dreams of living a unique experience, which is driving for a long distance, as this is considered as an adventure for a woman to drive for long distance that some male drivers are unable to drive.
Karima’s Kitchen and bus
Karima, known as Umm Hakim, lives in one of the neighborhoods of the Sheikh Othman area. She owns a small kitchen where she prepares meals for displaced Ethiopian.
Karima, one of the women we experienced driving buses, says: “I have orphans whom their father – god rest his sou left to me, so I had to work on the bus I owned to get the goods I needed and the items my small kitchen required.”
Karima continues her talk to Khabar Khair (Only Good News): “I work as a bus driver, so I watch people’s looks of astonishment. I am a woman who has struggled since my childhood and the death of my husband made me go out to the labor market for the sake of my children and I will work instead of asking others for help.”
On her part, Mohaja Al-Ban (a driving instructor) says: “Women must obtain their rights and participate in all fields and activities, and driving a car is not new for Adeni women, as she has known it for a long time.”
She added: “one of the main challenges that I face during my teaching for driving lies in the lack of acceptance of the idea by society, and fear still controls my students due to the failure of taxi and bus drivers to obey traffic rules.”
Al-Ban reiterated her support for the idea of a woman working as a driver and said: “It is a job like any other job. Rather, this work matches the nature of women, as they are calmer and have the ability to discipline and deliver orders on time and are more able to maintain the taxi that they drive.” And I hope that we will take the idea of taxis for women seriously in the future, with the need to provide them with security and safety through surveillance applications and identification cards.”
Majd Saad (a traffic guy in one of the Aden governorate roundabouts) says: “We help women who drive, and we rarely find violations, and if they are found, they are ordinary violations, and we know that women while driving are sometimes harassed by people who did not accept the idea that a woman drives a car, let alone a woman driving a bus.
Majd Saad added: “Recently, people’s awareness about this has increased, and large numbers of cars for women have spread, and with this there are a small number of women who drive buses, and as for the traffic tickets that I have recorded against women, they are approximately 22 traffic tickets since the beginning of this year. This is because women drive in a calm manner and committed to traffic rules.”
Accepting their work and respecting their choices to earn straight through this work, standing by their side, encouraging them, and supporting them, holding introductory courses on traffic regulations, and creating a friendly atmosphere between them and traffic guys to facilitate their affairs to the fullest, starting campaigns and initiatives interested in advocating women for any hard work they choose and standing side by side, is what society should do to support women who are engaged in professions that were previously the preserve of men in their society. Making a living requires a lot, but for it to be a unique experience, bus driving will not be the preserve of any man, but women will go through the experience and will not back down because of what customs dictate to them.