PAW She Wah was born in a refugee encampment in Thailand and for the first 19 years of her life, that was home.
Paw She Wah joined the L2P Learner Driver Mentor Program in 2014 and under the close guidance of volunteer mentor driver, Gerry Lonergan, obtained her P-Plate licence earlier this year.
In addition to being a confident and enthusiastic driver, this inspiring young woman aims to become an aged care worker as a way of “giving back” in gratitude for her good fortune.
Although difficult to imagine from our advantaged perspective, Paw She Wah had no prior conception of a motor vehicle.
As Gerry explained, “a steering wheel was an alien object to this young driver, much less its relationship to the wheels, movement and direction”.
Gerry, who also teaches English at Mitchell House each Saturday morning, has come to know a number of young refugees all of whom are vibrant, highly motivated and determined.
He has now established an ongoing annual fund, administered by the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR), to help pay for the professional driving lessons of all refugee learner drivers in the L2P Program.
The Gerard Patrick Lonergan Scholarship Fund of $900 per annum is now supporting three new learner drivers in the L2P Program, Moo Kyi, Lae Win and Paw Wah Hsee.
With volunteer mentor drivers Vicki Studham and Janine Lynch joining with Gerry, these learners are in safe hands.