A Plumbing Course Changes Beatrice's Life
In 2011, Beatrice was just another statistic. As one of the 29 percent of young women affected by youth unemployment in Rwanda, her dream was not to have a white collar job in the city like many of her peers, but to become a skilled plumber.
“I am an orphan, my father died in 1999, and I remained with my Mother and 4 siblings. We barely survived by growing beans and cassava on a very small piece of land, and working for our neighbors to earn money for food. Neither I, nor my mother, could afford to pay school fees for my younger siblings,” she explains.
In 2011, she was one of 300 young adults selected by local leaders to enroll in a 6 month life skills training course at the Amizero Training Center. The course is part of a Plan-funded program that enables children from impoverished families and children who have dropped out of school to learn important life skills. These life skills enable young people to earn a living while improving their communities.
While Beatrice had the opportunity to choose from many different types of courses, she selected plumbing.
“I chose the plumbing section because I realized that there was a need of skilled plumbers in my district,” she says.
After her graduation, Beatrice was hired by Kiramuruzi Sector authorities. Now at the age of twenty-one, she is in charge of water infrastructure and has also trained 21 students from Murambi Vocational Training Center.
“My plumbing job has enabled me to not only pay the school fees for my sisters and brother, but also invest in sorghum and beans which we later sell for a profit. I have managed to buy a goat for rearing. I have also employed two workers to work on my family land; food shortage in my family is now history,” she says.
Looking Forward and Planning for the Future
Despite the lack of adequate plumbing materials and transportation, Beatrice is committed to improving her household’s economic security. By the end of 2013, Beatrice plans to employ an additional four workers and hopes to purchase and sell the sorghum and beans. She also hopes to have additional money leftover for her savings account.