Mary Lalako Agboli: Breaking Stereotypes and Driving Towards Success


Today our spotlight is on Mary Lalako Agboli, a beneficiary of NEWIG’s Women in Professional Driving initiative. Her journey is one that inspires hope for young girls and women aspiring to diversify their skills through Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

Coming from a Business Administration background, Mary has evolved into a proficient bus chauffeur, working with some of Ghana’s prominent transport service providers. Mary attributes her progress to her resilience and her keenness to seize available opportunities.

She recounted the challenges that propelled her towards TVET. Financial constraints post Senior High School (SHS) compelled her to postpone her educational aspirations and work as a pupil teacher. However, fate intervened as she discovered an opportunity that would alter her life’s course forever.

“I learned of NEWIG Ghana’s initiative to train young women in professional driving in 2017” Mary shares, “and as someone who always admired women behind the wheel, I knew I had to grasp this opportunity.” Thus began Mary’s transformation from a pupil teacher to a skilled driver.

NEWIG Ghana with support from the African Women Development Fund (AWDF) gave her the opportunity of gaining foundational driving skills. Upon completing her training and successfully passing out, Mary obtained the required licensing all with support from NEWIG. She acknowledges that this training not only honed her talents but also unlocked numerous economic opportunities she hadn’t previously imagined.

After her training, Mary further refined her skills at Aayalolo, specializing as a bus driver. Over the past six years, she has confidently navigated Ghana’s bustling streets and even ventured on international trips to destinations like India (Delhi) and Burkina Faso (Ouagadougou).

“The skills and knowledge I gained from NEWIG Ghana have not only become my source of livelihood but also garnered me newfound respect,” Mary proudly remarks.

Despite encountering challenges as a female commercial driver, including discrimination and the struggle to carve out her space in male-dominated environments, Mary remains undeterred. Balancing work stress with household responsibilities adds another layer of complexity, yet her determination and perseverance remain unwavering.

Mary’s advice to aspiring professionals stems from her own experiences: “Be resolute and disregard public perceptions of male-dominated jobs. Seize every opportunity and maximize its potential.” Her story epitomizes hope, illustrating how determination and resilience can overcome any obstacle.

Beyond driving, Mary finds solace in singing and reading, harmonizing her passion for her profession with personal interests. Her journey with NEWIG Ghana and Aayalolo serves as an inspiration, underscoring the transformative impact of education and opportunity for women in Ghana’s workforce. Mary Maryann isn’t just driving buses; she’s driving change and shattering barriers with every mile.

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