Najlae, 24-year-old Moroccan auto mechanic, posed in front of a Volkswagen sedan in a car repair work shop in Tetouan, northern Morocco. (Xinhua photo)
RABAT, March 19 (Xinhua) -- Dressed in blue-gray work clothes, Najlae, 24, skillfully opened the hood of a Volkswagen sedan and carefully examined the problem of the car.
The young Moroccan girl repairing the car is one of the few female auto mechanics in the North African kingdom.
"Changing a tire in Morocco is easy, but changing minds about a woman's place in society is not," said Najlae.
She and her younger sister Rajae have been working in a car repair work shop located in the city center of Tetouan, northern Morocco. In fact, this small garage, which belongs to one of their neighbors, is the only repair shop in Tetouan that accepts their internship.
Najlae told Xinhua that the difficulty to find internship is not about their repairing skills, but the fact that Moroccan women have traditionally not been involved in car repair work. This is particularly difficult in the conservative Tetouan.
She said that although Tetouan is not far from the European continent, women in the city are extraordinarily shy, even compared with those in other Moroccan cities.
Najlae, 24-year-old Moroccan auto mechanic, was repairing a Volkswagen sedan in a car repair work shop in Tetouan, northern Morocco. (Xinhua photo)
When they encounter car problems, they often ask their husband or brother to drive to a repair shop. Thus, a dream sprouted in the hearts of the sisters: learning car repair and opening a repair shop for women.
From their childhood, Najera and Rajae were particularly fascinated by machinery. When other little girls were playing rag dolls, they were happy to dismantle toy cars. After graduating from high school, Najlae and Rajae enrolled in auto repair training courses, which their family didn't know.
As rare female auto repairers in Morocco, Najera and Rajae's story was reported by many media until one day the family discovered the secret from YouTube.
"Our parents were shocked and strongly against because for them car repair was men's job," recalled Najera. But the sisters' persistence had gradually changed the family's attitude within one year.
"Compared with persuading parents, repairing a car is easier," Najera said.
The young moroccan woman said she and her sister have mastered many maintenance technological skills related to the car cooling system, tires, brakes, transmissions, ignition systems. But due to the limited equipments in the repair shop, they still do not know much about the car circuit and driving computer.
Najlae said that vehicle maintenance is an ever-evolving knowledge, and that only continuous learning and practice can make one keep up with the upgrading of models.
The sisters' biggest dream now is to have a garage of their own. The name is already chosen:"Princess Auto."
Najlae said that they are working on government documents and raising funds for the repair shop. If everything goes well, their long-held dream will be realized two years later.
"We won't turn away male customers if they want to change tires or repair cars in our garage," said Najlae with a smile.