Do they not say that, “What a man can do, a woman can do better”?
Meet Sandra Aguebor, the first female auto-mechanic in Nigeria. She is the CEO of “SANDEX CARE” and the founder of “The Lady Mechanic Initiative”.
Engr. Sandra Aguebor
Born in Benin, Nigeria, she discovered her love for motors and engines in her teenage years. Her father, having noticed this passion, inspired her to pursue a career in engineering. This, she did and earned a degree as a Mechanic Engineer.
After her graduation, she worked for Edo Line and Railway Corporation. Years later, she launched her own auto repair garage and named it, “Sandex Care”, thus being the first female mechanic in Nigeria.
Audacious Sandra attracted several customers to her workshop and was also awarded lots of contracts to manage repairs of large fleets of trucks with broad distribution networks. Unfortunately, not too long after her workshop was demolished by land authorities. However, this did not stop her. She converted her private car to a mobile workshop, towing Lagos highways; she was providing on-the-spot and emergency vehicle repairs. Her story soon changed and she opened two garages in Lagos.
The Lady Mechanic Initiative
Sandra’s love for women empowerment led to the birth of a not for profit organization which she calls, “The Lady Mechanic Initiative” (LMI). This social enterprise empowers girls and women with mechanical skills to enable them become certified professionals in the repair of automobiles.
Since the inception of LMI in 2004, over 1,000 women have been trained and have graduated. Among them are former prostitutes, deportees, orphans, widows, and survivors of human trafficking. Many of these graduands have launched their own garages and also recruited and trained other women, while others work with companies such as Toyota Nigeria, MTN, Cummins Nigeria, TATA Motors Nigeria (Trucks), Coscharis Motors, Renault Nigeria (Trucks), amongst others.
Currently, Lady Mechanic Initiative has branches in five different states namely, Lagos State, Edo State, Abuja FCT, and Kano State.
The Lady Mechanic After-School Club
In addition to the Lady Mechanic Initiative, Sandra runs a “club”, called “The Lady Mechanic after-school Club”.
This club is for secondary school girls and was founded to raise awareness on opportunities for economic, social, and personal development available through the Lady Mechanic skill acquisition programmes.
The club, funded by the MacArthur Foundation, Chicago, supports girls who are interested in becoming auto mechanics by engaging and encouraging them, such that advancing in their careers would be much easier in the nearest future. Sandra hopes to reiterate this programme in South Africa also.
Sandra Aguebor has been featured on both national and international platforms, among which are CNN, Aljazeera, Lagos Empowerment and Resource Network (L.E.A.R.N.), Christian Mirror, USA Today, New York Times, BBC, and South Africa Broadcasting Corporation.