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The Role Model; the First Female Welder, Josophine!

She is 22 years old and a single mother of two who lives in Kasungu. She is the fifth born in the family of a retired primary school teacher. She learned welding and fabrication from July to December 2022. Josephine is a participant in the WUSC PIF project with There is Hope, which aims to teach 120 young adults in fabrication, welding, and fashion design skills. She found out about There is Hope’s vocational training from a friend who completed Carpentry and Joinery there. 

“My training was pretty intriguing, and thanks to the skills I’ve learned, I can support myself. I am skilled in building hoes, windows, gates, and other agricultural implements. My life has changed significantly as a result of being able to support myself independently, including taking care of my needs, covering my kids’ school expenses, and feeding the family. I still live with my parents, but I help them out with the bills. This is a result of my goal to complete the skills training program at There is Hope. I urge other females to pursue skill development”, says Josophine. As the sole female welder in this community, Josophine claims that many women look up to her.

However, like many girls her age, she did not go further with formal education. “I wrote the MSCE and got 30 points. I went back to repeat, but I was unable to finish my secondary studies because of a health issue I was experiencing. My parents, however, agreed that I should receive skills training because they knew they would not be able to support me for the rest of my life. I also realized that you can’t do it without any skills these days. That’s why I went to There is Hope”, says Josophine.  

She needed four months to organize her winning business. She apprenticed under another male welder at his workplace. After receiving mentoring, she teamed up with another male welder to launch a business. “People initially didn’t think that I could work as a young lady, but now that they have seen the work I have done, I get recommendations for business prospects. I am also capable of outperforming rival welders who received skills training from other vocational training institutions”, says a confident Josophine.

She attributes this to her grown confidence and her old There is Hope’s instructor who called her to see whether she was employed lor not This gave her further encouragement as got advised to look for mentorship possibilities. Right now, Josophine takes part in home decision-making as well. This can be ascribed to her rekindled confidence brought on by the skills training and her ability to support herself independently. As the lone female welder in a group of welding vendors, she also takes part in decision-making. “I am also able to give back to the community as I train other women in the same course. I have 2 girls that come to my workshop to get trained by me”, concludes Josophine.

To ensure that young women like Josophine may be economically and socially independent, skills training is crucial. There is Hope is able to advance youth and women’s empowerment thanks to the WUSC PIF initiative.