Sylvie Abagayire is a young car electrician in a successful car repair shop in Rwanda’s capital Kigali. As the only female technician at her workplace in a leadership position, she encourages other women to pursue a similar career. Between 2010 and 2013, GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development organised short-term courses for graduates and young professionals. These courses provided around 6,600 participants with technical and vocational skills to succeed on the labour market.
Rwanda is a small country in Africa. It is densely populated and developing quickly. I love Kigali because it is such a clean city. But the cost of living is very high. Fortunately I have a job.
I chose this profession because it is a modern one, and it is well paid. I’m a motoring enthusiast and I love driving – even though I cannot afford my own car yet. I like working on automotive electronics. It’s not just a profession for men. That is also what I keep telling other women and girls: we, too, can perform well in technical professions!
When I was a child I never wanted to be a mechanic. There were moments during my training when I wanted to give up and find myself a job that was more feminine: nurse, secretary or accountant. But now I love what I am doing and my family, colleagues and friends appreciate it.
I am the only woman working at our repair shop – and I am doing a good job. Whatever preconceptions others had about me never affected my work. I studied hard during my training, gained a lot of practical experience and got promoted to the head of the electronics department. I convinced my boss and the customers of my abilities.
My ambition is to go for further studies and increase my experience in car technology and electronics. In the future I would like to have my own business in the car industry. This would allow me to earn more money, so that I can provide for my future and help out others.