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Update: Georgia Department of Driver Services to add Dari to list of languages for permit test
Six weeks after 285 South's story on the need for Dari and Ukrainian on the permit test, GDDS says it is adding Dari to the list.
A Georgia Department of Driver Services spokesperson said on Tuesday the agency is “moving forward with adding Dari to the list of languages offered for the knowledge test,” in an email to 285 South. She added that there is not a launch date yet.
The development comes six weeks after 285 South published a story highlighting the obstacles many Ukrainians and Afghans face getting their licenses in Georgia.
Those who speak Ukrainian and Dari have to learn English before being able to take the permit test. Currently, the knowledge, or permit test, is offered in English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, Vietnamese, and Farsi.
There are accommodations that GDDS says it can make to set up a live translator for those who don’t speak any of the languages on the list, by connecting with the manager at a specific DDS office. For Shaista Amani, Social Adjustment and Leadership Program Manager at the Refugee Women’s Network, that process hasn’t been straightforward.
"It is like a dream come true for me, I can't imagine how many lives this will change,” said Amani, after learning of GDDS’s plans to add Dari to list of language options.
Over the last four years, Amani says she has written several emails to different people at GDDS to raise her concerns about the language barriers, but until a few weeks ago, was never able to connect with the right person.
“For Afghans who come to the US, it may take several years to learn English and then finally be able to get their driver's permit,” she said.
“Being an Afghan woman, I understand what it means to be able to drive and become independent in your life. Also, through my years of experience with refugee and immigrant communities, I have seen how families have suffered due to lack of transportation and language barriers in different situations.”
“This change means hundreds of women being able to become independent in their lives, seek employment without any transportation barrier, stand for themselves and being able to drive around, explore the world, see what is out there which can change their lives, and see how they can make a change outside of their home.”
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