The South East Community Links (SECL) centre at Hampton Park was the site of the latest Changing Gears program. Trainers Linda and Nikki met recent Ukrainian immigrants Olena, Viktoriia, Valentina and Ihor, Ethiopian Elisabet, and Afghani women Razia, Shafiqa, Moneselfatimeh (Monesel), Nazi, Yalda, Zahra and Sekina and their translators.
The room quickly became a hive of activity with translators assisting the various groups in filling out VicRoads learner permit application forms. One participant had been unable to stay and Monesel, who had been walking outside saw the SECL signs advertising the program.
Nikki and Linda, (rear of photo), instructing the Afghani and
Ukranian groups with the aid of their translators.
Monesel’s fated arrival
“It must be fate,” said trainer Linda as SECL staff Andrea and Nicola very kindly enrolled her and allowed her to participate in the program.
Elisabet was originally nervous, when she found out she would not have a translator at VicRoads. The SECL staff had assessed her language as good enough to sit the test in English. However, with each exercise and correct answer she gave, her confidence grew.
Confidence grew with every exercise
This happened with the Ukrainian and Afghan groups as well. Many had not owned a car and so were unfamiliar with the principles of driving. However, with every group discussion, demonstration and exercise they understood more. By the end of the course most were answering all questions confidently.
On the last day of the course, the trip to VicRoads was discussed. Zahra and Sekina did not feel confident to sit their learner permit tests.
“That is no problem,” said Head Trainer Linda, “People know when they feel confident, and we want to ensure that we set people up for success.” Zahra, Sekina, Nazi and Razia will set up a practice group so they can become more confident and familiar with the road rules.
Uncontrolled to controlled
Learning comes in many forms
An uncontrolled intersection was created with yellow tape. Then, all the participants used their bodies as cars to get a visceral experience of understanding the first rule of uncontrolled and controlled intersections; give way to your right.
The uncontrolled intersections demonstration.
The tape was also used to demonstrate the second rule for uncontrolled and controlled intersections; when turning right, give way to oncoming traffic.
All ten participants arrived at the Dandenong VicRoads office at 8:40am. Everyone was nervous on the day of the test, but our Ukranian participants and Elizabeth flew through their Russion and English tests, all passing. Monesel who sat the test in English passed well.
Pictured from left: Proud SECL learner drivers Viktoriia, Olena, Valentina,
Ihor and Elisabet (second from right), with VicRoads Dandenong Centre
Manager Sarah Harris (far right) and trainer Nikki (third from right).
Finally when the translator returned 11:30am, Shafiqa and Yalda both passed their tests, Yalda with 100%!
VicRoads Manager Sarah Harris was wonderful, organising returning translators and sharing in the ups and down of the day. She was thrilled at our great results and Sarah, we couldn’t have done it without you.
Pictured from left: Yalda, (who achieved 100%), Changing
Gears trainer Linda and Nazi.
Possibilities open up
Driving opens up so many possibilities for disadvantaged young people. Classes are supportive, students and trainers inspire each other, showing the way for young people to overcome their obstacles to driving and experience success.
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