“It is really hard waking up in the morning wondering how to get money to support and take you through the day,” says Cecile Nyinawabera, a female constructor at Meuble Aigle Blanc, a Kimihurura based byilding. She has gone against all odds to earn a living and she says she is proud to work as a constructor—a career she sought out three years ago.
A daughter to Mark Ryimarabake (RIP) and Anonciata Mukamudeli, Nyinawabera was born in 1986, in a polygamous family of 16 children.
She attended Binogo Primary School, where she joined Karengera Secondary School for her O’ levels. She also studied at Ecole Technique de Karengera for one year.
When her father passed away in 1994, it was very hard for her mother to cater for all the 16 children since her father had brought them all into the family.
Everyone had to start looking for ways to survive so Nyinawabera moved to the city to start her life.
However, it was not until Nyinawabera was trained by a South African organisation that encouraged people to venture into hands-on jobs, that she took up a career in construction. They offered her internships in different provinces across the country where she got her building experience.
“I was really discouraged the first time because everyone I approached for a job looked down on me because I was a woman. The ones, who did accept my services, always paid me less than my brother yet I worked as hard as him,” she recalls.
“I can’t help but thank Fidele one of my first friends I made while starting this job. He treated me like a sister and told me the challenges that came with the job, and guided me on how to overcome them,” she said.
Nyinawabera’s colleague, Uwizeye, says she is a hardworking woman who has never received any complaints from their boss regarding failure to perform.
Nyinawabera is a casual worker who earns Rwf3500 per day. She says that ever since she started working, there has been a big difference in her life.
“I have managed to solve most of my problems and even paid for driving classes. I have a provisional driving license and I am looking forward to getting a driving permit. I have also managed to help my family back home,” she adds.
Nyinawabera encourages women to participate in all activities that would generate income for them.
“Opportunities knock every day; it is up to us to seize them,” she says. Adding, “If I had not taken the initiative to seize what was right before me, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Some people might think it’s too little, but it’s a start. Hard work got me here and if I wasn’t a hard worker, everyone who promised assistance would have given up on me by now.”
Those women, who think that some jobs are beneath them, definitely need a change in attitude. Every employed person earning even the smallest of salaries should be grateful. Some people have nothing whatsoever. And, the notion that women cannot do men dominated jobs should come to an end. Nyinawabera has clearly proved that with the right mindset, any job can get done.