© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
I defy norms to survive and thrive, says, female phone ‘engineer’
AMAKA Raphael, 33, is your everyday lady who defies the norm to survive and thrive. She is competing in a field once regarded as the exclusive preserve of men—mobile phone repairing.
“Growing up, I had been an explorer as I loved trying new things but the breaking point of my exploration was inspired by my joblessness, “she said.
A single mother of two, Amaka, from Anam, Anambra West Local Government of Anambra state, currently lives and operates a shop at Ushafa, a town under Bwari Area Council of Abuja, where she ekes out a living by fixing faulty phones.
Her clients refer to her as ‘engineer’, —and she is truly one with her dexterity in dissecting faulty mobile phones and fixing them.
“I am just an everyday lady from a below average home who doesn’t mind defying the norm to not just survive but thrive,” she says while dismantling a faulty phone.
‘‘I have a normal life like every other lady. I wake up in the morning, do my chores and off I go to my workshop where I repair all kinds of phones, including iPhones.”
Unable to continue her education to the tertiary level due to lack of funds, Amaka narrated the story of how she searched for menial jobs without success, including enlisting for the proposed Nigerian Peace Corps in 2015.
“Depending on welfare packages from my church to take care of my family and myself was no longer realistic so I ventured into phone engineering sometime in November 2017,” she said.
At first, her trainer mocked her and told her she won’t be able to cope in the business because she is a female.
“When I approached my ‘Oga’ then to be his apprentice, he had a very good laugh at me and said I would not be able to cope in the business because I am a female,” Amaka said.
“He asked me to come back when I was ready anyway. It was when I paid my apprenticeship fee that my Oga became convinced I meant business.”
After six months into the training, she graduated and opened her own shop where at the moment, two apprentices learn under her tutelage.
“I earn between N1, 000 and N2, 500 daily which is not so much for my family of five since I am the breadwinner, she said of her daily proceeds.
She is planning to expand her capacity in order to expand the scope of her business. “I will learn the integrated circuit (IC) part of phone repair to increase my capacity base and my customers as well,” Amaka said.