Loveness comes from Zidunge Village in central Malawi. She is 21 years old and has seven siblings, one sister, and six brothers. When you look at her, she is such a sweet tiny girl. But even with the timid demeanour that African girls are socialized to have as they grow up, you can see she has big dreams. She is the secretary of the Network for Youth Development in Agriculture in her village.
Back home in DR Congo, Shabani was a popular musician. He was respected and well known in the city he came from. However, all that changed when the civil war broke out and he decided to use music to attack the ethnic conflicts that the war bred. Shabani wrote a song that rubbed the wrong people the wrong way and he soon realized that he had made a dangerous blunder. Powerful people who were not amused by his song started sending him death threats and tracking his moves.
Ishimwe, a refugee from Burundi, arrived in Dzaleka Camp in 2007 after being transferred from Luwani Refugee Camp following its closure. Unlike most refugees in Dzaleka, Ishimwe was self-sufficient and never experienced any financial hurdles. She ran a grocery shop in the Camp, which made her enough income to support her family. Ishimwe has a big family of 11 children but she was able to feed them from the money she realized from the shop. When an unfortunate incident left her first-born daughter with a perforated eardrum and a mild physical disability, Ishimwe’s financial status started crashing down.
Following the demise of his father in 2013, John’s journey to complete his education was hit a sudden blow. Worse, John’s father, a renowned carpenter in the village that John comes from, provided for the family and his death crippled the family’s finances. John’s mother is not employed and her main means of survival was on her husband which meant that she was now left alone to take care of John, his brother and younger sister. Although John comes from a family of seasoned subsistence farmers, they barely made enough money from the sales of their crops to keep the family sustained. Actually, the carpentry business that John’s father ran complemented the family’s small-scale farming but now since he was gone, John’s mother found herself solely relying on the farm.
Female bricklayers… It is not everyday that one bumps into a woman holding a spirit level and building a house or maybe sliding under a vehicle to fix a mechanical fault. In many countries – if not all – construction and engineering trades are heavily dominated by males, forcing some to believe that females cannot engage in those areas.