Professional Drivers 



Why Nepal?

Although 6° Academy aims to empower women globally, we decided to start in Nepal - the birth country of our co-founder, Gita - to pilot our first project.

Nepal is still one of the poorest counties in the world with an average annual income of USD 742 in 2015. Higher than only Afghanistan in South Asia. The M7.8 earthquake that struck near Gorkha on April 2015 killed nearly 9,000 people and destroyed more than 500,000 houses. Three years on, more than 500,000 people are still living in temporary shelters made of tin.

On the back of this earthquake, economic growth declined from 5.9 percent in 2013/2014 to 2.7 percent in 2014/2015 and 0.6 percent in 2015/2016 (source: Nepal Labor Market Update, ILO Country Office for Nepal, January 2017).

In 2011, 1.9 million Nepali (mostly men) lived and worked abroad due to lack of decent employment opportunities, particularly in rural areas, and the prospects of higher earnings abroad.

Remittances to family accounts for 25% of Nepal’s GDP and almost half of all households have at least one family member working abroad. This makes it even more difficult for the population across Nepal to rebuild their villages, cities and communities.

By giving women the opportunity to learn vocational skills - even those traditionally practiced by men, such as construction, masonry, carpentry or driving - they will be able to help rebuild their country, become financially independent and support their families and communities.

Pilot Project: Driver Training 

Our founders, Debbie and Gita, travelled to Nepal in October 2017 to identify potential partners and assess the needs of the local communities. During their visit, they identified several potential projects but decided to start with a pilot to train 10 women to become professional drivers in Kathmandu based on the interest of the women and what vocational skills they wanted to learn. Furthermore driver training was chosen jointly by 6° and our local partner New Sadle to showcase that women can choose any profession they want as long as they have the drive, ambition and support, and in doing so can start breaking stereotypical social and cultural barriers. Through hard work and perseverance and given the opportunity these women can become successful and independent drivers with an earning potential increase of about 65% more than what they currently earn (NPR 10,000-15,000 = Euro 80-120 per month).

Through New Sadle, 10 motivated women were identified, interviewed and selected based on their motivation and ambition to improve their personal economic situation, a training plan developed and the pilot project was officially kicked off in March 2018. None of the women knew how to drive and were excited to be given the opportunity to learn. 60% of the candidates are students, 30% are employed in some way (beautician/saleswoman) and 10% are unemployed. 

The women have completed their driving lessons as well as health and safety training and are currently taking English classes, while waiting to apply for their theory and practical exams which are expected to take place in September 2018. Once they pass their theoretical and practical exams, receive their driving licenses and health and safety and English language certificates, 6° will help them find employment and on-the-job training opportunities using local network and partners. The whole process is expected to take 6 to 8 months from the time the women obtain their driver’s license.

On-going support for the graduates will be provided to follow their progress and further their professional development. This will be via a network support system with local partner organisations and a 'buddy' system to ensure the continued success of the training programme and the graduates. 




The pilot project aims to train a group of 10 women to learn how to drive with an 80% minimum completion rate and equivalent job placement percentage. If the pilot project is successful, the driving training programme will become a part of 6°'s permanent training curriculum. We further aim to increase the annual income by 100% within 5 years.


Our first fundraising event was held in December 2017 at the ENMS Montessori school in The Hague, Netherlands as part of their Christmas charity project. Along with donations made by the families of 6° Academy, we successfully raised a total of EUR 6,000.

The funds raised will cover the cost of EUR 500 per candidate which includes driving lessons, certification, employment identification, placement, monitoring and support. The additional funds will be used as a contingency or rolled over to the next driving training project.


References articles related to professional women drivers:


Meet the Candidates

Meet some of the candidates from the pilot project sharing their stories and their hope for the future and see them in action learning how to drive. Learn more about them and their personal stories in our blog.


Mina and Mira: Our First Two Successful Candidates

Mina and Mira passed their practical exam

Mina and Mira passed their practical exam

In Kathmandu, our first two candidates, Mina and Mira have passed their practical driving exams! They are now waiting to obtain their driver’s licenses which can take up to 7 months to be processed so that they can start working. We are working together with our local partner New Sadle to find a jobs for them.

Our other seven candidates are at various stages of passing their theory exams and are waiting to apply for their practical exams this year. In the meantime we are in discussion with New Sadle to explore employment and other opportunities for these candidates once they have passed their theory and practical exams and obtained their driver’s licenses.

Regrettably, one of our candidates quit the training programme early on the project.