Trained as an artisan and employed by one of Africa's largest logistics companies

TEXT: Safinia Aiuba, Jaan Merz - 20. July 2023

Sofia Assate Mucussate, is a 22-year-old girl who repairs train wagons for the Martifer Visabeira company in Nacala-Porto, Nampula province. She is assigned to the mechanics area and is part of the team that repairs the locomotives. When it comes to welding, Sofia demonstrates skill and talent in handling the blowtorch, one of her main working tools.

Her currently monthly income has double the current minimum wage paid in the agricultural sector, 5.200 meticais. But how did Sofia get so far, so young? The question is not how, but what she did that was decisive for her being employed today in the Nacala Integrated Logistics Corridor, an entity that provides services to one of the largest companies operating in northern Mozambique.

Sofia Mucussate's past is intertwined with that of many young people who, due to low education, coupled with financial difficulties, leave school to dedicate themselves to small businesses. She sold home-made yogurt on the streets of her hometown Nacala-Porto. This is a highly industrial area, which caused Sofia to fall in love with locksmithing at an early age.

In 2021 Sofia was attending 10th grade but had to drop out school due to lack of financial conditions. With nothing to do but the yogurt business, the young woman enrolled in the Locksmith course promoted by the HOJE project, implemented by HELVETAS.

"My neighbor came to my house and told me that master Beleza wanted to train young people in locksmithing in his workshop and advised me to sign up. I didn't hesitate because I always wanted to be a locksmith", explained Sofia.

Being the only woman in the group that she joined during the 6 months course. She learned the art of working with metals. Sofia showed skills and willpower, so that as soon as she finished the course she started working with her master (the instructor), in 2021, crafting and selling stoves on the roadside. In fact, the road was an important showcase of Sofia's talent and the quality of her products, all the more reason why one day she received an invitation to work at the Martifier Visabeira company, which provides services to the Nacala Integrated Logistics Corridor.

"I went to Nacala-a-Velha for an interview, and they gave me a practical test to see if I knew how to weld. After this test I was admitted to the job vacancy in October 2022. In the company, I am in the area of welding train wagons. I feel happy to have got this job" said Sofia.


*Original text by Safinia Aiuba. Translation by Jaan Merz.