Ludy Cabana never really needed to drive in her homeland of the Philippines, nor in Dubai where she worked for a while, but when she came to New Zealand, transport became more of an issue.
She moved here three years ago and settled in Hinds with her Kiwi partner.
At first she worked on a farm, but then moved into a retail job in Ashburton.
Because daily transport to and from home and work was a problem, she opted to stay in town during the week.
In April 2018 Ludy signed up for the Mid Canterbury Rural Drivers Licensing Scheme and began a journey that has given here independence.
The scheme is open to newcomers in rural Mid Canterbury and supports drivers as they progress from learners, to restricted and full licences.
Ludy was in the classroom and studied the road code over nine weeks to get her learners.
She passed her restricted at the first attempt and will take the test for her full licence very soon.
“I’d never driven before I came to New Zealand and was always nervous about starting.
“But through the rural driving scheme I’ve built up my confidence, practised my driving and I’m no longer reliant on other people.”
Ludy said she was very grateful to her driver mentor, Chris Anderson, who had taught her how to drive.
She had driven her partner’s campervan to gain more practical driving experience, but now had her own vehicle.
“I’m looking forward to getting my full licence and then I’ll be able to drive friends who are non-drivers because I know how that feels.
“I have a birthday next month and the present I’d love most is news that I have passed my full licence.”
Ludy said the driving support scheme had enabled her as a newcomer to make new friendships and connections in the district.
Rural Drivers Licensing Scheme course starts on September 1. The course is free for those filling the criteria. To register contact Wendy Hewitt on 027 611 3301 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-By Mick Jensen