Shattering Boundaries: Chinyere Smith’s Empowering Story

As Women’s Month draws to a close, we reflect on the incredible stories of strength, resilience, and determination that have graced our lives. Among these stories, one empowering story stands out- the remarkable journey of Chinyere Smith, affectionately known as Chi-Chi.

Chinyere grew up in the vibrant township of Gugulethu, where life tested her with both love and loss. After her mother’s untimely passing, she leaned on her father and a network of aunts for support. The challenges she faced during her upbringing only fortified her resolve.

The Academic Struggle

In 2018, Chinyere graduated from high school with dreams of higher education. She enrolled at the University of the Free State to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Sciences and Psychology. However, the weight of academic pressure proved formidable, causing her to temporarily step away from her studies in 2020. Her attempts to return in 2021 were met with various hurdles, plunging her into the depths of depression.

Empowering Hope: Chinyere Smith’s Glimmer of Opportunity

Amid the darkest moments of her life, when she was unemployed and not engaged in any educational or training programs, a glimmer of hope emerged. Chinyere discovered the opportunity to become a female delivery motorcyclist through the Your Bike Club programme, which is sponsored by the USAID and Commercial Transportation Academy.

Chinyere exhibited remarkable courage when she decided to apply for this life-changing learnership program sponsored by USAID and CTA. Her journey began with a call for interviews and culminated in her selection for the learnership.

From Psychology to Motorcycle Mastery: Transformation

Transitioning from the world of psychology to the roaring engines of motorcycles presented no small challenge. Even on a scooter, she initially grappled with balance issues. However, with unwavering determination, she eventually switched to a manual motorbike and unearthed a sense of liberation she had never known before. The motorcycle became her sanctuary, a place where she felt truly at home.

The Empowering Learnership Program

This learnership program, marked by an 80% female and 20% male composition, aims to empower participants on multiple fronts. It begins by assisting them in acquiring a learner’s license and then guides them through the intricate art of motorcycle riding. Simultaneously, they receive invaluable soft skills training, encompassing everything from job readiness to customer service and mental health education.

Empowering the Mind and Beyond

Chinyere’s personal experience underscored the importance of mental health support within these programs, as she grappled with depression during her initial integration. This journey acted as a catalyst, prompting the learnership providers to incorporate mental health education into their curriculum.

Endless Opportunities

Upon completing the program, these determined individuals open the door to a world of career opportunities. From last-mile delivery to serving as couriers for various industries, a multitude of paths await them. Remarkably, many women leverage this learnership to either empower their own businesses or embark on entrepreneurial journeys.

The Power of Sisterhood

The female participants have forged a unique sisterhood, characterized by unwavering support and camaraderie. They cheer each other on, exemplifying the resilience and strength that arise when women unite in pursuit of common goals.

Chinyere’s Aspirations

Looking ahead, Chinyere aspires to become a professional motorcycle trainer, establishing her own business in the process. Her immediate goal, upon graduation, is to immerse herself in the world of last-mile delivery, an industry where she believes her newfound skills will shine.

A Message of Empowerment

As Women’s Month comes to a close, Chinyere Smith’s story resonates deeply. It serves as a powerful reminder of the boundless potential inherent in every woman. Her journey from academic challenges to motorcycle mastery encapsulates the essence of Women’s Month – celebrating the strength, resilience, and indomitable spirit of women everywhere.

Chinyere’s story is not just about her; it’s about every woman who has faced adversity and emerged stronger. It’s about seizing opportunities, prioritizing mental health, and fostering unbreakable bonds of sisterhood. Chi-Chi reminds us that when women join forces to support each other, no obstacle is insurmountable, no dream is out of reach, and no goal is too ambitious.

As we bid farewell to Women’s Month, let us carry Chinyere Smith’s message forward. Let us be inspired to embrace our roots, conquer our challenges, and empower ourselves and those around us.

This article is made possible by the Commercial Transportation Academy (CTA), which is at the forefront of empowering women in the commercial transportation industry through initiatives like Your Bike Club. To discover more, click here. 

If you loved Chinyere’s story you will love this one!

Female Truck Driver Embraces the Open Road!

In the bustling world of trucking, where long stretches of highways crisscross the country, an inspiring tale of courage and determination shines through. Meet Nomzamo, a 28-year-old female truck driver with an unyielding spirit and a passion for adventure. Life’s challenges have not stopped her from living her dream, embracing the open road.

Her Journey Begins: Overcoming Adversity and Finding Purpose

Nomzamo’s journey began in Pretoria, where she pursued her dreams of studying Geology. However, life took an unexpected turn when her mother passed away during her final year. Which left her in deep grief and unable to complete her studies. After spending a year at home, she found work in the insurance industry and simultaneously pursued a BCom in financial management. During a work trip, she encountered a woman in her mid-forties driving a truck; this encounter piqued her curiosity about the trucking industry.

Discovering Her True Calling

Fuelled by curiosity, Nomzamo sought to explore the world of trucking, which would change her life forever. She decided to enrol in the Commercial Trucking Academy (CTA), where she discovered a path that would lead her to become a skilled and accomplished truck driver. CTA’s comprehensive driver training program equipped her with the necessary skills and knowledge to embark on a successful journey in the transport industry.

Life As A Female Truck Driver: Challenges & Triumphs

As a female truck driver in a predominantly male-dominated industry, Nomzamo finds herself as an inspiring anomaly. Despite facing challenges like inadequate bathrooms and poor-quality food at truck stops, she remains undeterred, appreciating the comfort of her truck’s bed and the safety measures provided by her company.

What She Loves About Being a Truck Driver: Embracing the Adventure

Nomzamo’s journey has led her to find unexpected fulfilment in the trucking industry. The immense sense of responsibility that comes with controlling a massive truck and traversing the country’s diverse landscapes fills her heart with joy. The hum of the trucks and the camaraderie among drivers add to her love for the profession, making each day on the road a thrilling adventure.

Breaking Stereotypes: Empowering Women in Trucking

Nomzamo stands as a beacon of strength and determination, determined to dispel stereotypes that suggest women can’t handle truck driving. Her remarkable driving skills have earned her respect among her male counterparts, who are often impressed by her prowess behind the wheel. She serves as living proof that passion and technology can keep women connected to their loved ones while embracing the life of a truck driver.

Prioritizing Safety: A Female Truck Driver’s Top Priority

Safety remains paramount in the trucking profession, and Nomzamo takes it seriously. Constant communication with her controller, carrying a tracking device, and diligently keeping her truck doors locked are just a few of the measures she takes to ensure her safety on the road. She is cautious when dealing with strangers, never stopping for pedestrians or unmarked vehicles asking for help.

Advice for Young Drivers: Navigating the Road to Success

Drawing from her own experiences, Nomzamo offers valuable advice to other young drivers, especially women. She emphasizes that one need not compromise femininity to excel in this industry, highlighting that it only requires driving skills and a calm demeanour when facing challenges. Nomzamo encourages embracing calculated risks, being mindful of fatigue, and finding contentment in the solitary nature of trucking.

The Traits of a Good Driver: Patience and Consideration

Nomzamo sees patience and consideration as essential qualities for a good truck driver. She understands the shared responsibility of road safety and makes a conscious effort to be considerate. This not only fosters a harmonious driving environment but also ensures a safer and more secure journey for everyone. Patience and consideration go hand in hand, and Nomzamo exemplifies how these attributes can positively impact the trucking experience.

Industry Improvements: Paving the Way for a Better Future

Nomzamo envisions a brighter future for the trucking industry, advocating for improved road quality and lighting in certain areas. She emphasizes the need for better facilities at truck stops, including adequate bathrooms and kitchens, to enhance drivers’ well-being. Access to health clinics in remote areas would also be instrumental, ensuring drivers receive prompt medical attention when required.

Nomzamo’s journey as a young female truck driver stands as a testament to the power of resilience, determination, and a passion for exploration. Her story challenges stereotypes and inspires others to pursue their dreams with unwavering dedication. As she continues her adventures on the open road, we stand in awe of her courage and commitment. Nomzamo shows us that the road to success is best travelled with determination and a sense of adventure.

Ready to embrace the open road like Nomzamo? If you’re an aspiring woman with a passion for adventure, we want to see more of you in the trucking industry! Explore the possibilities and discover the path to a rewarding career behind the wheel at the CTA’s website. Join us as we break stereotypes and empower women in trucking!