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She dreams of creating employment for girls: Umulisa is defying odds in the construction industry

Umulisa Gisele is an entrepreneur in the construction sector, to create job opportunities for the youth, particularly focusing on girls, and she hopes to expand her company to the international level.

Gisele Umulisa owns Selah Construction and Interiors, a company that provides construction services, house design, and interior design, including decoration and carpentry, to enhance the beauty of homes.

The company has been operational for two years, as Umulisa initiated its operations in February 2022.

In our conversation, she expressed her desire to be a role model for other girls in this profession, which is often dominated by men, encouraging them to join the field.

She mentioned that her interest in construction began while she was in high school, following courses in Public Work, mainly focusing on water and roads.

In university, she formally studied Civil Engineering. She told us, “It started long ago. I grew up wanting to be a builder.”

The foundation of her company has a backstory. She mentioned, “There’s a story behind it. While in university, I didn’t imagine being self-employed; I thought I would look for a job like everyone else.

Then Covid-19 hit, schools closed, life stopped, and people stayed home. I visited a friend who was working at Vision City, where they were enhancing the beauty of homes, doing kitchen work. I watched and loved it.”

Gisele followed the work process for three days, and what followed changed her life.

“On the third day, as I was leaving, I met some guys entering the kitchen. One of them asked me if I could do this kind of work. I answered yes, because I had seen how it was done. Right then, he offered me a job.”

Gisele started working the following week and “saw a lot of money I had never seen in my life. That’s when I said this money must not slip through my fingers; this is the job I should do. I decided, then, to formally study it.”

Talking to Gisele, she shared that the job that made her sweat the most was her first one, as she was not used to it. “I had to call on some colleagues. It was like learning while working.”

She knew what it meant to start a company and work for herself, but she decided to take the chance she had seen.

“Starting your own business is not easy because one is just starting. I sat down and felt I had to work, although it’s not easy.”

Gisele views all girls in the construction sector as heroes because, “It’s a job many people think is only for men. When I see a girl, I consider her a hero, as there were only about five girls among fifty boys in school. I think they are still rare in the job market. A girl who dares to join this profession is capable.”

She mentioned that when a girl enters this profession, people initially doubt her, saying, “When I started, the major challenge was people doubting me, saying, ‘A girl? Can she manage this?’… proving yourself through your work is necessary, especially when you start without a track record. The same goes for workers; getting used to the team you work with is not easy.”

Her message to girls who wish to pursue this path is, “Girls are capable; what remains is to have confidence, study diligently, come and work because it is possible and fulfilling.

Parents should also let their children be free to choose their path, as studying what one loves makes it easier to work in that field later.”

Straight out of Twitter