Whoever says fixing car problems is a man’s job, haven’t met Sandra Aguebor yet. Her story is about freedom and following one’s guts. Working independently in Nigeria, this entrepreneur based in Lagos, has been helping women to be skilled at fixing cars. Aguebor is Nigeria’s first female mechanic. In a “man’s world”, she uses her knowledge about cars fearlessly to teach women how to repair vehicles and become financially independent.
Aguebor, founder of the Lady Mechanic Initiative and the CEO of Sandex Car Care Garage, also trains survivors of human trafficking and underprivileged women to become mechanics.
Now running her shop for 22 years, Aguebor was initially discouraged by her father as he did not like the idea that his daughter wanted to be a mechanic. But that did not deter her from pursuing what she loved and wanted to do for the rest of her life. A more determined Aguebor attended Benin Technical College for a vocational course in repairing vehicles. What started at the age of 13 went on in a local garage, and eventually, she started a business of her own, the lady has proven to be unstoppable.
- Sandra Aguebor is Nigeria’s first female mechanic, teaching and helping women repair cars and become financially independent.
- Aguebor’s interest in cars developed at a very young age, but her father disapproved. He tried to discourage her but the woman went on to chase her dream. She attended Benin Technical College for a course in repairing vehicles.
- She founded the Lady Mechanic Initiative through which she now aims to help women open their own garage and businesses.
Since then, the lady mechanic only knows the language of the tie rods, ball joints and steering wheel. “For me, to become the first female mechanic in Nigeria, I had to work five times harder… and prove myself,” she told CNN. She aims to reach 100,000 women with her non-profit organization to help them open their own garage and businesses someday.
“The constraints, the obstacles, the challenges that could have driven me back, they became my opportunity. The future looks bright,” she said in an interview with Aljazeera.
“At first, they were really angry. They didn’t want me to go for it,” said the gutsy mechanic. “My mum wasn’t happy with it. She just went on crying, ‘Why do you want to be a mechanic? The risk is too much.’ I was like, ‘Don’t worry, this is what I want. I’m like a tomboy. I have a flair for cars.’ ”
Fixing cars for 36 years
Don’t be surprised if we say that Aguebor has been fixing cars for 36 years. “The prospects and work ahead make me feel excited even more than the awards we have received in the past. Until I start assembling vehicles in Nigeria, I won’t consider myself as being successful,” she told Punch.
“That is a dream I have had for a long time and we are gradually working towards achieving it. I want to be the first female mechanic to start assembling cars in Africa. That is my ultimate goal and I know I’ll achieve it by God’s grace,” she hailed, adding how networking with so many female mechanics has been empowering for her.
”Our Clients keep coming back. They prefer us because we are determined to be better than a lot of mechanics who take their job and their salary for granted,” stressed the multitasker.
“In my life, I never work with ladies like this. I can see that they have it in mind that they want to become a somebody in life. They have the determination that one day I will get there,” she claimed. “Before you know it, you will see lady mechanic here, lady mechanic here, lady mechanic here.”
A documentary on her won an award at the New York Film Festival in 2015.
Feature Image Credit: Twitter
We request you to support our award-winning journalism by making a financial contribution towards our efforts. Your funds will ensure we can continue to bring you amazing stories of women, and the impact they are making and spotlight half the country's population because they deserve it.