Upon completing her construction course eight years ago, Marie Claire Niyotwagira started working in the sector aware it’s not what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
Having studied construction at school, she worked hard on different sites to accomplish her dream, which was to own a car that will see her operate a taxi business.
A mother of three also said she saw the need to challenge the male domination.
Working towards her dream
Niyotwagira who is now working with YEGO cab based in Kimironko market alongside her male colleagues said it all started with passion and determination.
In 2012 after acquiring some basic knowledge in the construction field from Work Development Authority (WDA), alongside her husband, she started working as an ordinary worker on different construction sites.
Their construction sites were based in Remera, where she worked with her husband, taking home a minimum of Rwf 5,000 each daily.
The money she said, they would spend less and save more, and that in many occasions, she will pursue ‘side hustles’, just to ensure she achieves what she wanted.
According to her, this was not what she wanted in life; her aspiration was to join the taxi industry, with the construction job acting as a stepping stone to her dream job.
While working in construction sites, Niyotwagira was also taking driving classes whenever she would get a chance to, with the aim of acquiring a driving license to enable her enter the taxi business.
“For a period of three years, we managed to save RWF 1.5 Million, which I used to buy a second-hand car (Corona brand),” she said.
In 2015, she started her taxi business with the car she bought with savings from construction work.
Since this was her dream job, Niyotwagira chose taxi-driving ignoring biases such as it was dominated by the male. From her view point, there was a lot of potential and there were clients to be served.
She noted that where many people go wrong is that they tend to perceive fields dominated by men to be the hardest area to thrive as a woman, yet in the real sense, if one knows what they are doing, there are many opportunities than in any other area.
“Before, I would walk around and in at least every taxi parking lot, and wouldn’t fail to find a customer inquiring for a taxi, this also motivated me to join the field,” she narrated.
Through taxi operating, Niyotwagira has managed to buy a new car which she also uses for her business.
Additionally, with the help of the husband, they have built their own four-bedroom modern house in Ndera, Kigali where they live.
Besides, she uses the same car to drop off her husband at the workplace. Before the COVID 19 pandemic, she would also use it to drop her children to school before heading to her work station.
So far, in this field, Niyotwagira said there are few challenges compared to where she used to work before.
“My male counterparts respect my work and in many situations, they always look out for me where needed,” she added.
In fact, she said that most of them are inspired by her because of the hard-working spirit she has.
For the setbacks, she said at times it becomes challenging when driving people late at night as some of them can be drunk and disorderly.
However, she said that she endevour to treat clients with respect to avoid any unpleasant incidences.
Her dream, she said considering the many people seeking employment, she is hoping to acquire more cars and employ young people seeking work.
Her advice to couples, she said they should be supportive to each other, provide a conducive environment for their partners to grow, work hard and that when this is done, it’s easier to accomplish other plans.
To the mothers, she said they shouldn’t sit in their comfort zone and wait to be fed by their husbands, instead, try out new opportunities and always be ready to learn new things.Follow Lydia_AtienoM