CAMFED Association member and construction worker, Zambia
I was born into a family of six and I am the second born. I have four sisters and one brother. My mother passed away after a short illness. Since then, life was never easy for me and my siblings.
My father who is a small-scale farmer could not manage to take care of all of us. Life became very difficult. As a result of this, my elder sister had to drop out of school in Grade 4 due to financial constraints and she decided to get married. I was lucky because my aunt took me in, although she was just running a small business. My other two young sisters also dropped out of school in Grade 8, and they both got married early because they could not continue with school. I am the only one in my family who has completed Grade 12.
When I qualified for Grade 8, I did not know how my aunt would manage to pay for my fees and all the school requisites that were needed. Instead of being happy that I passed, I was sad because I did not know how I would continue at school. Then I was identified by the School Based Committee to be on CAMFED support. I remember when the Teacher Mentor told me that I was among the girls who would be supported by CAMFED, I could not help but cry. Only that this time, I cried tears of joy!
When I completed secondary school in 2015, I joined the CAMFED Association and attended entrepreneurship training through the ‘Shaping My Future’ program.
I learnt a lot about how to run my own business and I was very encouraged to know that there were a lot of Association members who had similar backgrounds.
At the end of the course, I applied for a grant and was given ZMW 500 (about US $25) to start a business. It was the first time that I had so much money. I decided to put it to good use and I opened a grocery shop. I used to help my aunt and my siblings with basic needs from the profits that I was making in my business.
The Embassy of Ireland provided financial support for CAMFED Association members to receive vocational training. Through the CAMFED Association District Committee, I applied to study at Thorn Park Construction Training Centre in 2017 and I was selected to study bricklaying and plastering. That day was one of the most exciting days of my life!
At first, I was not sure whether I was going to make it because this Course is dominated by men. But when I arrived at Thorn Park, I was surprised to learn that there were other CAMFED Association members from other districts too who were doing the same course with support from the Embassy of Ireland and this made me feel at home.
I chose this course because I have seen that there are very few women who are into construction and the course is very marketable, especially for women. Finding a job would not be difficult for me.
I also decided to upgrade my course and I told my lecturer about my intention to upgrade from a level two bricklaying and plastering certificate to level one (advanced certificate). I was advised that I could apply to Social Welfare for further support and luckily, I was among two other CAMFED Association members who were offered a scholarship to do an advanced certificate in bricklaying and plastering.
After completing my course, I applied for a job at AVIC International Holding Corporation. I was very happy when my job application was accepted because it meant that I could take better care of my siblings and myself. I love my current job and I hope to acquire more experience for me to work on more complex assignments.
I will forever be grateful to CAMFED and the Embassy of Ireland for the opportunity to study construction as it has changed my life in ways I never imagined.