Sandra Aguebor, is a female mechanic who against all odds determined to break the stereotypes that limit women in the men dominated profession of auto-mobile engineering, to become Nigeria’s first female mechanic.
Sandra has been fixing cars for 32 years and has been running her own garage for 22 years. Born in Benin City, Edo state capital, Nigeria, Sandra gained a fascination for motors and engines by the time she was a teenager.
Speaking to Al Jazeera, she said her mother did everything in her power to discourage her from following her dreams, even going as far as beating her when she found her tinkering with with car parts instead of house chores, a lady is expected to be doing.
Determined not to be stooped from living her dream, Sandra Aguebor, pursued a degree in mechanical engineering, worked with the Nigeria Railway Corporation for several years, before launching finally launching her own auto-garage called Sandex Car Care.
After perfecting her career in Lagos, Sandra launched an NGO, Lady Mechanic Initiative, LMI, in 2004, to help train vulnerable women on how to repair cars and become financially independent.
The women in the program comprises of victims of sex trafficking, orphans and young mothers. Over a thousand young women have graduated between five states in Nigeria.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Aguebor expressed her joy in doing what people say she cannot do. “The constraints, the obstacles, the challenges that could have driven me back, they became my opportunity. The future looks bright,” she said.
Sandra Aguebor, hopes “to liberate, mentor and transform one hundred thousand girls into role models and agents of change in communities across Africa by the year 2025, through sustained innovative approaches to skill impartation and a healthy mental guidance.”