They used to say carpentry was not for women. I proved them wrong

In my trainee group we were 11 young people, 7 men and 4 women. They all dropped out, except me.
PHOTOS / VIDEOS: Leonel Albuquerque - 01. February 2023
«I have always admired furniture, I have always wondered how are they made, how are they transformed into objects that are so interesting and so present in our lives. I wanted to know how a tree is modified into a desk»

These were some curiosities that inspired Neusa Yacussa, 17 years old, to enroll in the short carpentry course at the Instituto Polivalente de Marrere (IPOMA), in Nampula.

Neusa Yacussa, formada em carpintaria no IPOMA, actualmente estudante do Curso de Construção civil na mesma instituição

When the coronavirus pandemic hit Mozambique in 2020, classes were interrupted as part of the prevention and containment measures adopted by the government. At that time, Neusa was attending the 9th grade and was forced to stop and sit at home. Those were long days with nothing to do. She hated stagnancy, youthful idleness, as she wanted to spend her time and strength on useful and productive activities.

On a day just like any other, through a lady from the Marrere neighborhood (where she lives) in Nampula, she heard about short term courses in Carpentry, Metalwork and Civil Construction ministered by IPOMA, in a partnership with Helvetas Mozambique. Neusa applied with the interest to learn and to challenge herself in an area, commonly dominated by men.

«The carpentry course was tiring in the beginning, and I almost dropped out, also because people always criticize women who attend courses and environments that are predominantly male. It was no different with me, as I was attending the carpentry course. In my trainee group we were 11 young people, 7 men and 4 women. They all dropped out, except me. I heard many people say that carpentry was not for women, and I proved them wrong»

Neusa defied the prejudices and criticism coming from other young women of her age, finished the carpentry course and went to work at the ArcMadeira company in Nampula. And for first time in her life, she began to earn her own income and to help her mother with the household expenses. But this was only the starting point of her story. It didn't take long, she was invited by the institution that trained her (IPOMA) to work as a trainer and thus encourage other young women to be trained and challenge the social norms that holds back women's rights, auto determination and socioeconomic development.

«I worked as a trainer at IPOMA for 1 year, with a salary of 3,000 meticais (almost 50 dollars). When I started to attend the civil construction course, medium level, [in the same institution] I had to stop working as a trainer, because I no longer had time. The course is very practical and gives enormous possibilities for youth to be able to respond to the challenges of the increasingly competitive and demanding labor market»