Two years ago, Albert Chama was living in one room in Lusaka, Zambia with his wife, daughter and niece. Albert was a construction labourer, but was only occasionally able to find work. In 2016, Albert saw a flyer at his local church advertising a free construction training course with Build It International, and decided to take up the opportunity.
Zambia needs around 17,000 new construction workers each year, but few school leavers are able to afford the training. In recognition of this need, Build It has started building its “Centre of Excellence”, a new training centre to significantly increase the number of people we can train.
Albert was one of the trainees who helped to construct one of the first buildings at the centre, gaining a TEVATA qualification in bricklaying.
“Now I’m able to do bigger projects because I have a qualification and people trust me,” says Albert with pride. He has since been contracted to build various houses in his community. Albert works on numerous projects at the same time and is now employing six local people to help him.
Life has changed dramatically for Albert and his family. They now live in a rented house not far from the centre of Lusaka. Albert is now able to support his mother and father and send his younger brother to school, while also saving money to buy his own plot and build a new home for his family.
“Before I did the training,” Albert says, “I was assisting other builders and wasn’t able to earn much money. Now I am able to do more myself.” In ten years’ time, Albert hopes to have his own construction company.
Images by Jennifer Bruce for Communication for Development Ltd (www.communication-for-development.com))