Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Saleha - KSA’s first Woman Bus Driver

Saudi Arabia has a strict policy of women not being allowed to drive publicly. It is the only country in the world that prohibits women from driving.  Saleha, a Saudi woman, is believed to be the first woman bus driver in Saudi Arabia. She lives in the remote area of Asir with her parents and sisters. The financial conditions of her family were very bad and hence they felt the need to think of something that would help better their condition. Hence Saleha’s father decided to start a school bus service for the girls of their village. This would solve the problem of both parties that is the girls of the area will not have to travel far on their own as someone reliable will be there to drop and pick them and Saleha’s family’s financial condition would also improve.

According to Saleha, her father thought of the idea and decided to discuss it with the men of the village to get their consent as well. The villagers agreed willingly as they had known her father for a long time and trusted him completely. Keeping in view her father’s old age and poor health, Saleha decided to take up the duty of driving the bus and asked her father. She was a good driver and it was her father who had taught her how to drive. It took some time but eventually he agreed to let Saleha drive the bus. Hence Saleha disguised herself as a man and started driving the bus.

It was not until one day when Saleha had applied Henna on her hands that the men noticed there was something fishy and confronted her. They asked her why she had applied henna on her hands as men don’t do that. She had to confess that she was a woman and the secret was out! The following day the men of the village came to her father and naturally, Saleha and her family were afraid that they would be upset and would never accept her as a bus driver. The traffic police took the necessary action against the father and Saleha and imposed some fine upon her. Obviously, she is no more driving that bus which was the only source of income for her family.

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