50-year-old Sherine Lata has stepped out of her comfort zone to take up the leading role of supporting her family by driving her husband’s taxi in the Suva-Nausori corridor.
Lata had to take over from her husband Sital Kumar in January this year after he developed an eye infection which later affected his vision and ability to drive.
Speaking to FijiLive, a determined and energetic Lata said prior to driving their cab full-time she used to help her husband whenever he was sick and do pick-ups and drop-offs of customers.
“Life is full of challenges and the rising cost of living is surely pushing a lot of people into poverty. But we can surely overcome these challenges if we keep ourselves focused and strong and learn to always work hard.”
“When I started, there were many people who were passing remarks. There was more criticism than encouragement but I was determined to drive safely, earn an income for my family and put food on the table.”
Lata’s day begins around 4am on weekdays. She prepares breakfast and lunch for her family, gets her two children ready for work and school respectively before hitting the road at around 5.30am.
“I drive till the evening and sometimes I am lucky to earn enough before 5pm and this allows me to reach home early.”
“In the weekends, I sometimes take a break and my daughter Rashika, who is also working, helps out and drives our taxi in the weekend to allow me to rest a bit and do the house chores.”
The Makoi resident is urging other women and young girls to believe in themselves and break barriers as no job is too big or small and every form of employment brings an income and helps in meeting the needs of the family.
“We should never limit our progress. Women do not belong in the kitchen and have to be home always. There are many opportunities out there if one is determined to work hard and go beyond the societal expectations. We just have to have a positive mindset, the support of our loved ones and the urge to work hard and earn money honestly.”
“If I at this age, being a mother and wife can do it then others can surely do it,” she said with a big smile.
Her story surely drives motivation and the drive in young women to step out and become a voice for themselves and empower those around them to explore possibilities and achieve success and economic sustainability.