When women gained the legal right to drive in Saudi Arabia, Ford expanded its international grants program to help them build confidence behind the wheel.
For the first time, women have the legal right to drive in Saudi Arabia. To help them gain experience and build confidence behind the wheel, Ford Motor Company Fund funded a training program called “Driving Skills for Life for Her” in Jeddah, a city in western Saudi Arabia. Ford delivered the funds through an international grant, made via its grantmaking partnership with GlobalGiving.
The program introduced more than 180 women to the basics of driving with hands-on training.
Benna Logan, Manager of Ford Operation Better World for the Ford Motor Company Fund, recalls receiving her own driver’s license: “I remember vividly when I first held that hot-off-the-press, shiny little plastic card with my picture on it and feeling like my whole life just started. It was exhilarating.” Earlier this year in conjunction with International Women’s Day, she attended Ford’s Driving Skills for Life event.
“I watched young women in Saudi Arabia get their first chance behind a steering wheel. The experience was uplifting, exciting—and humbling,” she says.
A Driving Skills For Life instructor said that the women were easy to train because they wanted to learn. Sometimes, instructors have a more difficult time teaching experienced drivers, who need to break bad habits, the instructor said.
Jim Vella, Ford Motor Company Fund President, said, “Ford Motor Company was built on the belief that freedom of movement drives human progress, so we are honored to have the opportunity to support women in the Kingdom during such an extraordinary time, and to welcome them to the driver’s seat. Our Driving Skills for Life for Her program provides access to training and experiences that will help women feel safe and confident as they get behind the wheel.”
“I didn’t think I would ever learn to drive,” said Bushra Yaqub, a Driving Skills for Life participant. “My life has just changed forever.”
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