Fellow Since 2004
Lady Mechanic Initiative
This profile was prepared when Sandra Aguebor was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2004.
The New Idea
Challenging the stereotypes that limit women and minority groups to low-paying, menial jobs, Sandra is tackling an area traditionally reserved for men – auto repair. Her goal is to promote sustainable positive change in the socioeconomic circumstances of the poor and vulnerable people in Nigeria by demonstrating their ability to master a difficult skill, simultaneously securing their economic future and building their self-esteem. She breaks this stereotype by training successful female mechanics across the nation, many of whom come from especially poor backgrounds. She helps her trainees diagnose and fix mechanical problems with a professional touch, and as they master her techniques, she helps them start garages of their own. A career in car maintenance enables women to secure a stable stream of income and establishes them as respected, valuable members in their communities. Sandra crafts her work to open the way for women to succeed not only in auto maintenance, but in dozens of other occupations traditionally dominated by males.