Meet Sharjah's first female Emirati car mechanic

Meet Sharjah's first female Emirati car mechanic

Driven by curiosity at an early age, the 36-year old first opened the business in Sharjah last year.

Huda Al Matroushi is one of a handful of Emirati women who own and run a car garage in the UAE.

Driven by curiosity at an early age, the 36-year old first opened the business in Sharjah last year.

As a child, the mechanic said, her passion to fix cars kept her up at night.

She lay in bed wondering why things work as they do, and why one machine might break while another might not.

Curiousity led Ms Al Matroushi to her position as Sharjah's first female Emirati car repair shop owner.

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She recalled that at the age of 9 she was scolded and grounded for being out after midnight in her family's backyard, repairing toy cars.

“It wasn’t just cars. It was everything. I wanted to know why a toy would stop working and I would try to fix it," she said.

"I would put a working toy next to one that wasn’t working and try to figure out why.”

In her teens, Ms Al Matroushi spent her days at garages learning how to fix cars, and in her 20s she studied for her master’s degree in management leadership.

In 2017, she became a licensed broker fixing cars.

Then, after three years, she opened her own garage, Imex Car Service, and became the first Emirati woman to own a car repair shop in Sharjah.

Today, Ms Al Matroushi is determined to change the perception that women should only work in specific businesses or industries.

“Women can do whatever they want to do today."

"It isn’t just about opening a hairdresser or a sweet shop - women can be in any field they want, and I would like to see more women in the auto industry,” she said.

Ms Al Matroushi said that running her repair shop was a challenge at first, but gradually she has built up a name for herself.

“I have my faults like anyone else but I am known to be honest, and that I would never cheat a customer.

"There is also nothing that can’t be fixed,” she said.

Car repair shops often cheat customers by replacing expensive parts with inferior knock-off spares, Ms Al Matroushi said.

“It is unfortunate but it is also very common. Often they will take parts that you don’t even know exist.

"This is how the business is, and it is hard to find an honest garage,” she said.

Her advice to customers is: “Don’t trust everything they tell you.”

Ms Al Matroushi, whose first car was a Land Rover, does not claim to be an expert.

“Call me a mechanic in training,” she said. “I am always learning, and I learned both by research and trial and error.

"I watch and I learn and I make mistakes like everyone, and I am not ashamed of it.”

Her family was supportive of her ambition to open a car repair shop.

“I paid for it myself and got emotional support from my family which was important. Business was going well until Covid hit, and now it is slowly coming back.

"I get a few cars per month, and while I do hope to profit one day, I know that it could take many years.

"What matters is that I am happy with what I am doing and I am committed to what I do,” she said.

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