DREAMS helped me dream again
After dropping out of school due to lack of school fees, *Mercy , a single mother of 3, ended up moving from one town to another doing casual jobs since she had to fend for her children.. She worked as a house maid, a waitress and even a cook. Despite all the challenges she faced, Mercy still believed that she would once again achieve her childhood dream of becoming a mechanic.
Mercy had been told about LVCT Health’s DREAMS project that provided interventions and services to adolescent girls and young women and she was interested to join the program which she did. However, her frequent movement prevented her from benefiting from a number of interventions. However, it seemed luck was on her side, for in 2019, she received a call from one of the LVCT Health Service Providers and was informed that she could select a vocational training which would be fully sponsored by the DREAMS program. The mother of 3 jumped at the opportunity and enrolled in a motor vehicle mechanical course.
She received a full scholarship that would ensure she stayed in school for 2 years and in so doing, get a certificate. Her parents welcomed her back home and accepted to take care of her children while she went back to school.
Unfortunately, in 2020, while she was doing her second year the COVID-19 pandemic struck and the consequent closure of all learning institutions slowed down her studies. Despite this unforeseen hurdle, Mercy’s passion for mechanical work saw her approach the owner of a motorboat engine repair garage at Sindo and after going through a number of interviews, she was given an opportunity to learn while on the job.
“I am happy since I am now able to do some practical work from the skills I gained in my first year. Being here has helped me learn a lot. My lecturer has visited and encouraged me to learn as much as possible. I am thinking of taking up the motorboat course exam when we get back to school.” Mercy confidently quips.
Mercy has had to turn a deaf ear to a lot of criticism directed her way since the mechanical field is still perceived to be predominantly a man’s domain. She has been an inspiration to many and has already encouraged one of the DREAMS girls interested in the mechanical course to take it up.
“ I enjoy opening the carburetors and testing the engines. This job gets me going and keeps me busy from negative peer pressure that is faced by many of my peers in the community. I also attend meetings in the safe spaces where I get to learn a lot on how to stay HIV free and save some money for my children”, says a smiling Mercy.
She uses her free time to mentor other girls in the community.
Mercy is now enjoying her childhood dream of becoming a mechanic. She believes DREAMS was an angel sent by God to transform her life and that of her children.
Story and photos by: Alfred Itunga
Reviewed by: Mary Valai