Focus on Women

Kigima prides itself with it's focus on women in the auto electrical industry.

To start off our focus we would like to start ‘at home’ so to speak. Shyken Chinofunga, one of our facilitators has very willingly shared her story :

(if you have a similar story to share please send it to us)

A DREAM COME TRUE

In life we have dreams but for the dream to come true that is in our hands. Sometimes you will go through serious trials for it to come through but at the end of the day it will be worth it. I have decided to share the story of how I had a dream and what I had to endure for it to come through:

My name is Shyken Chinofunga, and at the age of 12 a dream was born. Here is what happened. One Saturday, in 1986, my father asked me to accompany him to the shops, on our way there, a car drove off the road just a few meters away from us. A lady got out, put on a work suit, went underneath the car fixed something and she went back in the car started it, it started, she took off her work suit and off she drove.

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That there was the moment that defined who I was to become, a dream was birthed in me.

I said to my father that when I grow up I want to repair cars, he just laughed and thought it was a childish thought. For the next 4 years I did my high school education while at the back of my mind I still knew what I wanted to do. One day I decided to tell my parents that I wanted to repair cars and right there my father told me that he would never have a daughter who plays around with grease and oil. He did not want me to work in a man’s field. I tried to make him understand, and gave him more time to digest it. But he would not accept that, leaving me so heartbroken. My father got a place for me in a Teachers’ college, because his dream has always been that I would become a teacher. I still had a couple of months before the college opened, so secretly I started applying for an apprenticeship, by now I knew the difference between a motor mechanic and an auto electrician and I had made up my mind that auto electrics was the best. I was called in for an interview and told my father about it but he thought I would not get it.

Unfortunately I failed but they gave me another chance to go back for another interview in a week’s time. After the week I went back and this time I passed, but they told me that they would send my results. They would also let me know which company they would have selected for me to do my apprenticeship training in.  Meanwhile I asked my mother to speak to my father for him to understand that this was what I wanted but she failed to convince him. My last option was my grandmother (his mother) who told him to let me go after my passion. My papers came to let me know which company I would be under and he took me to the place, arranged my accommodation and left.

He never allowed me to touch his car for the next 3 years. I went to college for a whole year for my theory part in my second year and I passed, I actually got an award as the Best Student In Technology. In my third year I had to go for the College graduation and that was the day my father realised that this was my passion. When I received the trophy, he apologised for the way he had been behaving towards me and up till today he supports me in every way he can. Today his joy is also complete because I now teach auto electrics.

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All my years I have worked on different vehicles, light, heavy and earth moving equipment and now it’s time to impart the knowledge that I have to others and my desire is that I train as many women as possible to show the world that we can do and be anything we want or desire to be.

My advice is that parents, if your daughter wants to be involved in the technical field, please don’t deny them that opportunity. If it is their passion you should be there to support them and not to push them to fulfil your own dreams.

Girls don’t let the dreams you have die because you want to make the community identify who you are to become.  Make your parents understand what your passion is don’t hide away your dreams from them. Let them know how important this is for you. Don’t say to them it’s okay I can go to an academic school because that’s what they want, so you don’t want to disappoint them when you want to go to a technical school. One important thing in life is to be who you want to become so that you may enjoy life. If you become someone because your parents want you to do that, you will lead a miserable life, you will never be creative in your career because at the back of your mind you are always saying you wish had done the course you wanted.

I will tell you the honest truth, I do not regret why I became an auto electrician because I followed my passion, my dream. I still have the same passion and I am very involved and passionate about my career.

I also want to encourage every one of us that remember whatever you are doing out there someone is watching and who knows you might birth a dream in someone’s life just like what happened to me, so let’s watch our steps. I never spoke to that woman but her actions gave me my dream and today I am so full of joy because of that moment. Today I am proudly sharing with you something that happened about 32 years ago and I am still the happiest auto electrician ever and on top of that I AM A WOMAN.

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