An Abuja based professional female carpenter, Mrs. Hannatu Terry has reminded women that no profession or skill is exclusively meant for men hence, the need for women to venture into any skill of their choice to add value to their lives and the society.
Speaking with our reporter in a telephone interview, Hannatu also discouraged any form of gender discrimination against hard working and industrious women in any vocation of their choice.
According to her, “everything is possible when a person puts his mind to it because life is all about determination. You may look at it as hard but when you start, you will discover that it is not that hard.”
Mrs. Hannatu a mother of three, said her father died when she was about 8 years old in the village, leaving them with their mother to fend for them. She said she use to visit her uncle’s carpentry workshop at a tender age where she observed how her Uncle who was a furniture craftsman made furniture.
She added that along the line, things became very difficult for them so she had to be her mother’s backup and couldn’t continue her education after Primary. Since then, she could not further her education and attempted to go into tailoring but noticed that it might not be of help in meeting her needs so, she left..
The Akwanga local government native in Nasarawa state said she joined the carpentry profession at the age of 17 and was encouraged by the little experience she had from her visits to her Uncle’s carpentry workshop. Although she had challenges at the initial stage but she is now happy doing her work.
While narrating the circumstance that forced her into carpentry, Mrs. Hannatu said when they moved to Abuja, she saw some people doing carpentry work and when she wanted to do a passage in their house, she sought the help of a carpenter who helped her with the measurement which she followed and it worked.
She said when she wanted to fix their ceiling, she asked the same carpenter who once again guided her on the measurement. “That was how I just picked up the challenge but any furniture shop I went to, they will say it is men’s job. So I just decided one day and went to site, where they were doing carpentry work and I told them I can do the work and when they asked are you sure you can do it? I said yes and that was how I started” she added.
She also recalled how the first set of people she work with at site really encouraged her. They assisted her whenever she had any challenge that could discourage her in the work and seeing her determination, they asked her to feel free and ask them anything she didn’t understand that was how she learned new ideas that improved her work.
She also recounted that the next set of people she worked with mocked her saying “by mere seeing you hands you cannot even kill a fly” and some even sent her out of their shops or refused to give her the work but because she was determined, she wasn’t discouraged.
“But with all of this, sometimes some people will call me and give me work, some will say they saw me working somewhere or they have worked with me before and they liked my work, so that is how I continued” she said.
The 32 years Mrs. Hannatu noted that so far her work has taken her to Plateau, Bauchi, Lagos, Ilorin, Rivers, Delta, Anambra, Cross River, Kaduna, Abia, Kogi, Nasarawa and Abuja. Through her carpentry work, she has been taking care of her grandmother, her 3 kids, younger brother and her late elder sister’s son including their school fees and other extended family responsibilities.
She called on ladies to work hard and take any work that can pay their bills rather than relying on people or seeing themselves as weak.