Mary completed her secondary school education in early 2021. Growing up in Nairobi’s Kawangware are, Mary had admired being a mechanical engineer, having grown up always seeing a neighbor servicing motorbikes at their residential area.
”My dream was always alive but even after completing my secondary education, I knew chances of me pursuing mechanical engineering or a plumbing course were so low. My father is an artisan and my mother sells vegetables in the street. They could not afford it,” said Mary, who comes from a family of six.
She learned about the SHOFCO Sustainable Livelihood Program’s employability and business skills training course from her mother, who is a member of the SHOFCO Urban Network. She was enrolled for the eight-day training and upon completion, SHOFCO enrolled her in a skills development program. She was posted as an apprentice at a local motorbike service provider, P&G Bajaj Service Center.
“ I chose motorbike mechanics because there are many motorbikes in this area and they need servicing. I also wanted to do something that men are doing and that can easily get me a job,” Mary says.
She spent three months at the service center and recently graduated as a motorbike mechanic. SHOFCO gave her a weekly stipend which helped her to continue with her learning uninterrupted. After her training, the firm retained her to learn more as she does the job.
“I have learned to do service for motorbikes and even the braking system. I service our customers’ motorbikes and the more I stay here the more I get more experience. I am praying to get a job so that I can earn my income to enable me to get the capital to start my own service center. I am saving a little from the stipend I receive from SHOFCO so that it can help me in the future,” Mary says.
“I am asking young women to take up these free courses. I have helped two of my friends who are now pursuing plumbing and catering courses. Girls should stop idling at home, attend employability training, and get to learn about opportunities available for them,” Mary concludes.