Akhtar Haji Sheikh Rauf is driving a vehicle on one of the streets of Sulaimani, Kurdistan region, on December 13, 2022.
Hailing from Sulaimani, Akhtar Haji Sheikh Rauf, better known as Akhtar Khan, meaning Mrs. Akhtar initially developed a hobby for driving in her early years.
She learned to drive a tractor and instructed her other female fellows to go behind the wheel. In 1996, there were only a few male drivers, and highly uncommon for women to drive; but Akhtar Khan helped hundreds of women learn to drive through a foreign NGO. In 2005, she opened her driving school called Akhtar Khan Office and has worked with the Sulaimani traffic department ever since.
She remains one of the best instructors in Sulaimani who teaches females to drive.
She does not keep a record of the number of women she taught driving but estimates that she helped thousands of women to obtain their driving licenses.
In recent years, the number of women driving has increased, as now some women work as taxi drivers or mechanics.