In the village of Zuba, located on the outskirts of Abuja, the federal capital of Nigeria, there is a garage where women direct repair work on cars of all models.
Favor Okonkwo, a mechanic, owns this garage. For her, practicing her profession is a dream come true, having fueled interest since her teenage years in high school. The disparaging comments by some about the mechanics neither discouraged nor changed my mind in favor of Okonkwo.
“A lot of things have motivated me to love this profession which has so far been dominated by men. Even when I was still a child and growing up, I was already doing some technical repair work at home … I was repairing everything. My mom had noted that “, she recounts.
Originally from Awka, Anambra State, and mother of six children, “Madame Rock” as he is affectionately known, began his adventure at the Technical College in his hometown.
She also subsequently acquired additional knowledge in the profession from certain institutions before settling in Zuba.
With nearly 18 years of experience in her trade, she ended up marrying an auto mechanic, who, she explains, gave her all the encouragement and the means she needs to progress in her profession.
Valentine Okonkwo greatly appreciates his wife’s efforts in the profession.
“She is very determined, she does a good job. It is not enough just to train a person in a profession. But her efforts to retain and apply everything you have taught her. She learns very quickly, in fact she is practically became an engineer. She repairs all kinds of sophisticated cars “, he confides proudly.
She has already trained two women in the profession and currently has 12 trainees, both men and women.
Odo Philomina, 18, one of the interns, explains that she is there “to make my dreams come true”. “I will become a great mechanic in the future”.