THE POWER TO CONSTRUCT

Words aren’t enough to achieve your goals…

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Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is growing fast in Rwanda, and the enrollment rate of girls is increasing just as quickly. Though girls who join may encounter challenges, many overcome them and achieve great success. Albertine, who was inspired by her dad to choose construction, shared how hard it was to convince her parents initially, but that later they supported her decision. Today, she is close to completing her studies in construction. Ni Nyampinga met Albertine at a construction site where she was doing her internship. Her interest in construction is not new, but rather dates back to her childhood.

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“My dad has been a builder for a long time. I enjoyed watching him work and really wanted to become a builder one day too!” During her studies, her desire to work in the construction sector grew. After completing her Ordinary Level at high school, she realised the time had come to follow her heart and do what she really loved. But first she had to consult her parents. “After telling my father I had applied to study construction, he didn’t approve and asked me to enrol in computer-related courses,” Albertine said, recalling her father explained that technology is trending and construction is very demanding and not a career for girls.

“I didn’t respond immediately and, instead, worked really hard to show him that I was able,” Albertine told us. One day, she asked her father if she could join him at a construction site. He agreed and they spent the day together. Afterwards, she asked her dad for feedback, and he told her he was impressed by her work ethic. When they reached home, her father gave his blessing, and Albertine went on to study construction.

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“I couldn’t deny her the chance after she proved to me how much she likes it and how capable she is,” Albertine’s dad said. He also said that Albertine made him change his mindset about what girls can and cannot do. Albertine says that she enjoys how her relationship with her father has improved now that they share the same profession. Her next goal is to become an engineer. To achieve this, she is studying hard, revising with her friends, and getting tips from her father who is an expert in the field.

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Albertine’s dad encourages other parents to keep an open mind and believe that girls can do anything they set their mind to. He asks parents to make time to listen to and value their children’s ideas. As one of the few girls in TVET, Albertine’s journey has not been easy, but she says her solution is to show people that she can do it. “Words aren’t enough to achieve your goals, you have to demonstrate your passion and commitment and prove the naysayers wrong,” Albertine said.

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