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Auckland driving school that helps refugees learn to drive calls for volunteers

An Auckland driving school which helps refugees get on the road and gain their independence is calling for volunteers.

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Aime Maga and refugee success story Amna Alress talk about the Puketapapa Community Driving School. Source: Breakfast

The Puketāpapa Community Driving School puts a portion of its earnings from regular driving lessons towards subsidised lessons for people who are new to the country.

Aime Maga, a former graduate of the school herself, told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning that anyone with a full, clean driver's licence of two years can volunteer to help.

"For my own experience, I was stuck on a learner's licence for eight years, so I can imagine how much harder it is for a former refugee," Ms Maga said.

"English is not their first language so it's really difficult for them to learn to drive.

"We are really grateful for all the mentors who are helping us to give them extra practice sessions."

Alma Alress, who left Kuwait some time ago to find a better life here in New Zealand, recently gained her restricted licence, saying it has opened up her life.

"I had my learner's licence for nearly 14 years and I could not get my restricted because it's so hard for me as a refugee," Ms Alress said.

"I'm a mother, busy with my life and no one had enough time to help me with driving - so I felt like I was in such a hard situation.

"Then my friend brought me to this community, this course, and I feel amazing.

"I'm independent and I can do my things by myself without asking anyone."

For more information, see the Puketāpapa Community Driving School website here.