By Sandeep Singh Grewal Gulf Daily News, Manama, Bahrain.
A BAHRAINI woman is believed to have become the first female truck driver in the Gulf after facing months of setbacks.
Fatima Abdulla Al Qaidom described overcoming personal and cultural challenges to obtain her heavy vehicles driving licence.
The 30-year-old is part of a support programme designed to help women who face domestic problems.
It was launched by the Batelco Care Centre for Family Violence in Budaiya, which aims to help rehabilitate women who face problems at home.
"I was always fascinated by trucks carrying large consignments that you see on the highway or even in movies," she said.
"But everyone laughed when I mentioned about driving these big vehicles one day in Bahrain."
Ms Al Qaidom said it was difficult to find driving instructors when she applied for the learners licence in August last year.
"They never trained a woman to drive big trucks and it was something new to them," she added.
"It was tough the first few weeks to find an instructor, but I finally did.
"It took some effort to first climb and get to the driving seat of a truck, but things just change when you're behind the wheel."
She completed her training hours and passed the test on her first try in November last year.
"Now I want to prove to everyone that women can indeed do anything and even if there are barriers they will overcome them," she said.
Batelco Care Centre for Family Violence consultant psychotherapist Dr Sharifa Swar urged private companies to support Ms Al Qaidom, who still does not have a job.
"This woman is a true inspiration and refuses to give up despite facing problems at home," she said.
"We would like to highlight her achievements and request the private sector to help her find a job.
"She has told me on several occasions she would love to drive a truck carrying several expensive cars transported to showrooms."
The GDN reported on December 29 that three Bahraini women have joined the centre's scheme, called support the survivors, in an effort to help females who face domestic problems overcome their challenges through art.
The centre plans to promote their work and highlight achievements of Bahraini women who break the glass barrier despite being victims at one point of time.