Monday 8th will be International Women’s Day. And what better way to anticipate the same than share the story of a 28-year-old single mother of two who has elected not to cry foul and play victim over her tribulations
Orphaned at an early age and with negligible education, Evelyn Atieno decided to join the construction industry, not many a woman’s cup of tea.
The Std 8 dropout is today one of the most sought-after masons in Siaya County and does not shy away from lifting bricks or mixing mortar, just like her male colleagues.
“I started working at a hotel where I earned Sh100 a day then ventured into business selling chips, which collapsed,” she says. “I then joined construction, which I find more reliable and well paying.”
She says she pockets Sh1,000 daily, money that enables her to provide for her two schoolgoing children and pay rent.
Atieno raises her children by herself after separating from her husband and is currently working at a construction site in Siaya town.
Three years ago Atieno worked as a casual laborer at construction sites earning Sh500 per day.
“I grew to love the job and through dedication, other senior masons offered me on-the-job training which enabled me to become a mason,” she explains.
The training was not a bed of roses.
“I had to finish chores assigned to me in a construction site, such as sweeping and concrete curing before I could be allowed to learn a thing or two from the experienced masons,’’ she says.
Heavy-duty jobs are typically left to men but Atieno believes women can carve a niche for themselves in such sectors.
“This job is not for the faint-hearted. For example, we started out 12 women at the beginning of this project but today only three of us are left. This job really needs determination and dedication.”
Atieno says she has never suffered any form of intimidation because of her gender.
“Sometimes people think women get jobs through sexual favours but we get hired because we are just as competent and hard-working as men,” she says.
Atieno advises fellow women stuck in low-paying jobs to venture further afield and try the dusty but well-paying jobs such as hers.
Story Courtesy of KNA