After completing her O’ level education, Providence Uwanyuze was forced to drop out of school due to financial constraints.
That is when she announced her intentions to take driving lessons.
And now, the 23-year-old has made history by becoming the first female motorcyclist in Northern Province’s Musanze town.
The second born in a family of seven, Uwanyuze says driving was her childhood dream.
“After completing Senior Three, my parents told me they could not afford my school fees any more. Life was hard. Even with free 12 year basic education I wouldn’t manage to get scholastic materials as demands were many due to large family,” the Busogo Sector resident said.
“Even when I was in school, I was struggling. My family was too poor to finance my education and that of my siblings. I opted for driving and nothing was going to stop me.”
Uwanyuze trained at a driving school in the area from where she obtained a category A driving licence two years ago.
She now rides a motorcycle, locally known as Lifan, and deposits Rwf10,000 daily to the owner.
“I had no vehicle to drive as vehicle owners were not ready to trust me,” she said, of her initial challenges. “They questioned how I could drive because of the perception that men make more money for them.”
Though it was joy for her, at first she wondered whether she would make enough money to pay the motorcycle owner.
“I was the only female rider in a male dominated field. When I started I did my best to convince clients. I have since built confidence, many clients even call me and I earn more money than my male counterparts,” Uwanyuze said.
She says she now earns more than Rwf 20,000 per day.
“Through savings, I help my family and pay school fees for my sisters. I have managed to set up a modest restaurant in my Busogo village that also generates income. I get at least a profit of Rwf8,000 per day from the restaurant,” she explained.
“I plan to buy my own motorcycle or vehicle. This will help me generate more income and help my family.”
Plans to resume studies
Though she dropped out of school, Uwanyuze believes nothing is more important than education.
“I regret I failed to continue my studies but I have never lost hope. Whatever I am doing I plan to do, I know that ultimately I will keep resume my studies,” she said.
Once she is back in school, Uwanyuze wants to train in technical and vocational skills.
“I hope to juggle books and work. My plan is to study mechanics to propel my driving career. I also plan to open a garage as another avenue of income,” she said.