A loan of $20,000 helped to buy a driving school training car.

Shlair's story

Shlair is a true role model for Iraqi women, a great entrepreneur driving positive change in conservative communities. She started a business 16 years ago that is still dominated by men till today. Shlair is the owner of a driving school that she built in a simple, step-by-step process, gaining the respect of her family and her community, showing an attainable business model to many.

Shlair is a 48-year-old wife and a mother of three children. Her elementary studies didn’t discourage her from becoming a qualified – senior instructor based on her long experience and participation in various training courses to stay up-to-date with new techniques. She even attended a 5-day training course in Amman, Jordan to gain up-to-date experience that is not available in her town and country. Moreover, she’s a qualified instructor and trainer for trucks and not only small cars.

Her professional start was not easy; like most Iraqi women, the biggest challenge she faced was the acceptance and trust of her community in her abilities as a driving teacher/trainer, not only for men, but women as well. Thus, she was determined on proving herself and being a role model who can compete with men. To date, she has trained about 5,000 women and more than 10,000 men.

Another challenge she faced was lack of capital, but as an entrepreneur, she was able to manage her business by attracting experienced drivers to join her driving school, using their own cars, after modifying and preparing the cars. This thing helped her to increase the numbers of students and grow her business, although most of the income was for the cars’ owners. Shlair is satisfied with this because she believes that she is creating job opportunities and helping them earn income. So far, she has created 10 job opportunities; three of them are for women, and she is looking forward to increasing this number.

Shlair’s growing business and her positive attitude qualified her to participate in the WLIFT program and her business is taking out an SME loan in the amount of $20,000 to buy a driving school training car.

As she explains with her own words in the video: My name is Shlair, I was born in 1966 and I have three children. I have been in this business for around 15 years. I’m facing two main challenges; the first challenge is lack of capital and the second challenge is the culture in my town which makes it not easy for women to drive a car and to be a driving trainer. We have trained around 5000 women student drivers and around 12,000 to 13,000 men. There are 13 people receiving income from my driving school. I participated in this program (WLIFT) to learn management and economics.

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