Building Brighter Futures

Marab developed an interest in building at a young age, while working with her church on small building projects near her home in Zambia’s Central Province.

When she finished school, Marab wanted to become a teacher, but there was no money to further her studies. When she heard about our training programme, Marab had no hesitation in applying.

“My family said, ‘You won’t manage, building is for men,’” she recalls, “But I said, ‘Let me try.’”

Marab was one of twenty young trainees who helped us build new science labs at Linda Community School, south of Lusaka. Two years later, Marab is permanently employed with a construction company in Lusaka. Of its 1,200 labourers, she is the only woman.

“At first, they thought that I was only joking, that I wouldn’t be able to do work like lifting eight-inch blocks”, she recounts. “They didn’t trust me, but I managed. These days, I work harder than some of the men. I don’t have to ask for help, I just do it on my own.”

Marab has returned to her family in Central Province, where she has built a three-bedroom house for her parents. She says it feels good to see them living more comfortably. She is the eldest of five girls, and is able to put two of her younger sisters through school thanks to the income she is earning from construction.

Marab has big plans. She points out the sunken living room on a hand-drawn plan of the house she wants to build when she has saved enough money to buy her own plot of land.

“The kitchen will have a big pantry and the lounge and dining room will be open plan to save on building materials,” she explains.

“I’m very proud and my family is very proud, too,” Marab says with a shy smile. “I would never have been able to do this training without Build It. They mean a lot to me and my family, as they have changed a lot for us.”

Photos by Jennifer Bruce for Communication for Development Ltd