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Niyomubyeyi Defied those who believed a girl can’t weld

Niyomubyeyi Deborah is a 19-year-old girl studying in her sixth year of secondary school in the field of welding at Nyamata Technical Secondary School in Bugesera District.

Originating from the Rwamagana District in the Gishari Sector, in our conversation with her, she mentioned that when she began her welding studies, many people discouraged her, saying that it wasn’t a woman’s job, but that didn’t stop her from continuing on her path.

“When I first started, many girls were enrolled in the program, but people kept discouraging us by saying that girls shouldn’t learn welding.”

Niyomubyeyi encourages young girls to pursue what they are passionate about

After hearing these discouraging words, some of the girls who started with Niyomubyeyi switched their courses, leaving only two girls, including herself, studying welding at the institute.

Niyomubyeyi Deborah says she grew up fond of what many consider men’s work, to the extent that if she hadn’t pursued welding, she would have opted for construction or electrical engineering.

“The reason I didn’t give up is that there’s a girl in my neighborhood who is also a welder and she loves it. I’ve always enjoyed men’s work and felt that it’s what I could excel in, so if not welding, then I would have studied construction or electricity.”

“I found my niche. I see it makes money and I love it. I feel like there’s nothing else I could do, I believe I am good at it.”

Niyomubyeyi reports that when people see her welding, they are astonished. This was especially the case when she went for an apprenticeship in the Gakiriro of Rwamagana; the sight of the only girl among the workers surprised many.

“They were very surprised, but of course, whenever you go somewhere for the first time, some people will inevitably try to discourage you. But I got used to it and saw it as normal.”

This young woman advises those who think welding is a demeaning profession or doesn’t pay well that, although she is still a student, she earns during holidays through internships, enabling her to pay for her own needs without asking for money from her parents for food or transport.

She continued to encourage girls who are interested in this profession but get discouraged by their surroundings not to give up on their dreams because where there’s a will, there’s a way.

“The advice I have for girls is to be brave and believe in their capabilities. If you believe you can do something, don’t let anyone discourage you. If you undertake something with the will to do it, you can achieve it.”

Niyomubyeyi Deborah is convinced that after completing her secondary education, she will take up welding as her everyday job. She also believes that if she gets the opportunity to attend university, it would enhance her ability to practice her profession on a broader scale.

She says she has always loved doing activities that are labelled unladylike

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