My name is Akinyemi Zainab Abeke, I am 17 years old.
When I wanted to start learning car re-wiring, my parents refused. They told me to go learn tailoring or hair styling but I insisted this is what I want to do. My dad was reluctant because he could not understand why a girl would want to go into re-wiring and repairing cars. Even though he refused, I would stop by at the mechanic shops to watch the mechanics work, I really enjoyed doing that.
When my twin brothers died due to ailments I don’t know of, I told my mother:
“look at us and our family, our generation is poor, no one in our family has money to even pay my school fees at once. If we had money, you and daddy would have been able to take my brothers to the best hospitals. I want to do this so I can be ahead of my peers and become successful”.
When I was telling her this, I was crying because I was tired of my father working so hard as a tailor and still suffering. I don’t want to be like that, and I don’t want him to die like that.
When My mom went back to my dad to convince him and to tell him all I said, he called me to his room and prayed for me in tears. He prayed that I would be greater than everyone in my family and that my dreams will come true. After praying for me, he brought me here and I have been training to rewire cars.
My mum and grandma help the family as well.My mother left us when I was 4 and my step mum has acted as my mother ever since. I call her mummy because she is my mother now, she treats me like I’m her own child. For instance, whenever I need money for books, she will stay late in her shop so she can sell more items and give me money to buy the books.
During school holidays, I also have to do some work so I can buy new school uniforms because I keep growing taller.
I want to go to the university after secondary school. I’m not very good with maths, I’ve been getting Cs a lot. Learning the practical aspect of mechanical engineering will give me a better understanding when I get to the university. Also, I can work in auto repair shops when I’m not in school so I can help my parents and Grandma see me through school.
When my dad hears that boys and girls from my school stop by the workshop to laugh at me and take pictures on their phone of me, he comes to the workshop to tell me he is proud of me. This makes me more focused. Not that I care what people say, because this is my dream and my goals are different from theirs so they can laugh all they want. This is why when my dad asks me to go and play like my mates, I tell him there’s no time. I really wish I had started this early.
DANG: Early? You’re only 17
Zainab: Ah. 17 is not only o. I’ve been wanting to do this since I was 12, by now I would have been very good. I dream about car re-wiring, I see myself in my dreams repairing people’s cars. I should have started early, but it’s okay, I’ve started now. I tell my friends and younger ones,
“whatever you want to do, start learning now, no age is too young to learn, whatever you learn with your hands, you can never forget”TWEET THIS QOUTE
When I see women engineers on television, it makes me feel like I also can do it.My dream is to be an engineer like them too. I want to be famous for being the most sought after female engineer in the world.