Learning how to drive and getting a driver license is an exciting rite of passage for many. In a regional area like the Illawarra being able to drive opens up many opportunities and can even be the difference between being in and out of employment.
Learning safe driving skills and obtaining a driver license takes considerable time and effort regardless of your circumstances. It can present an even bigger challenge for members of the community who are still learning English, who are not yet familiar with the local area and who may not have friends and family with a car and full license to take them out to practice. That is where is SCARF Refugee Support comes in to lend a hand.
SCARF’s L2P driving program connects voluntary driver mentors with people from refugee backgrounds living in the Illawarra to provide mentoring sessions for learner drivers and facilitates a number of initiatives to increase community awareness about safe driving and road safety.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, SCARF’s L2P program has continued to be met with a huge demand. Following a necessary pause at the height of the pandemic the waiting list for participants has grown to 43 people. Adhering to strict COVID Safe protocols and procedures, SCARF’s L2P program is now back up and running and we are looking for more volunteers to join the team dedicated to helping former refugees build their driving skills and gain the independence that comes with a driver license.
The L2P program has made a number of changes to implement COVID Safe practices some of which are done every time the car is used including a health questionnaire, temperature checking using a digital thermometer, sanitising hands and using antibacterial wipes on all high touch areas before and after each session. In addition to these high frequency measures, there are face masks and gloves in the car for anyone who feels the need for extra protection.
Ama, a SCARF L2P learner driver said, “The best part about getting my license is that now I can take my little girl, who is starting kindergarten this year, to school. I can also drive to work. The first thing we did when I got my license was go to the beach.”
SCARF relies on the wider community to deliver our L2P program and without our volunteers, who work tirelessly within SCARF, opportunities and programs like this would not be possible. If you are interested in joining SCARF as an L2P driver mentor, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.