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Meet the female carpenter breaking gender barriers in a ‘man’s world’

Author: Michael Daniel | Published: Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Teresa Zakira who has been working for last 15 years as a carpenter in Wau town - credit | Eye Radio | November 2020

Teresa Zakira has been breaking gender barriers for more than a dozen years. Her dream is to have her own carpentry workshop to train and help women in South Sudan.

She’s 42 years old single, and for the past 15 years, she has worked as a carpenter.

Teresa’s 15 years of work has made her gains a lot of experience in fixing iron sheets on the roofs of buildings where she constructed more than 7 buildings in Wau.

She told Eye Radio’s Journalist, Michael Daniel, that she dropped out of school early in primary 8 due to the hard life she and her sister faced.

So, her sister decided to go back to the village, leaving her alone at Hia Muthamidia, a suburb in Wau town where she continued to fight for survival.

Teresa’s neighbor has a carpenter workshop where she helps to clean.

One day, Teresa asked the owner of the place if she could join the workshop to work. She told the man she was eager to do any carpentry work to keep her alive, as she was passing through a hard time.

Tereza believed that women can also do any work a man can do.

“Any work a man can do women can do it too. So there is no specific work for men or women. Women are ready to do any work,” said Tereza.

Teresa said she used to feel shy at the beginning, but now she is very confident and a strong woman. She is hoping to get her own workshop to train and help other women so that they are independent.

Now, she can fix an iron sheet on the roof of the building and also fix or repair chairs and cupboards.

Currently, she supports herself and her mother, father, and her sister with her kids.

Meanwhile, James Philip the workshop owner told Eye radio that he knew Teresa as a neighbor and that she used to come to his workshop and see him working.

“I asked her, are you willing to learn and do some works? And she says yes then I started teaching her using wood cutting machines, and she learned how to do all work alone,” Philip said.

“Some women used to pass by asking how can a woman do that?” he said.

“Let me appeal to all women, you can be independent like Teresa if you want to be an independent woman who can do similar work she is doing, any work, be it mechanical or in building construction,” Philip added.

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