Wendy Musira is a single mother of two boys aged eight and two years. She is a fourth born in a family of four girls and three boys, and her father is a policeman while her mother is a greengrocer. Wendy was working as an untrained teacher in Kariobangi South, Nairobi, when she heard about the Young Africa Works Programme.
“I applied and joined training in plumbing as soon as I heard about the project from my friend,” she said. Wendy’s training was conducted at CITC Pumwani under full sponsorship of the Young Africa Works Project. Why plumbing, one might wonder, and Wendy responds: “I found the plumbing job interesting; you can do it anywhere and you keep the skill for life.”
After three months of intensive training and mentoring in plumbing, Wendy was deployed to Ngong-Kibiko to assist in constructing 100 hydroponic greenhouses for the project. Her plumbing training came in handy because hydroponic farming relies on feeding crops through an intricate network of pipes which distribute water and nutrients from a central point to every plant in the greenhouse.
“Plumbing in the greenhouse is critical because it is the way the crops get their food and water. If you get it wrong, the greenhouse will not perform,” Wendy noted. This makes her pay extra attention to her work, while she also gets involved in other roles at the site such as supporting the masons and doing general duties. Wendy has also acquired skills in steel fixing and is happy to lend her hand in this aspect of the work at the site.
Why did she exchange teaching for plumbing? “I was curious to explore another way of earning a living. The plumbing is already paying well, and I can do plumbing in my own time to make an extra coin,” she said. Wendy had been teaching for three years before she opted to join the programme.
The future for Wendy involves setting up a plumbing business, something she already does on the side. “I offer plumbing services over the weekends,” she noted. She gave an example of a kitchen sink she fixed for a client at a charge of KES 1,500. “I really enjoyed that job and I followed up later to make sure the problem had not recurred,” she said.
The Young Africa Works Project provides ladies with the amazing chance to take up at least 70% of the 114,000 beneficiary opportunities on the five-year project. This is one of the opportunities Wendy has taken up with such enthusiasm, and which has given her an opening into the world of plumbing and financial independence.