EDITOR’S NOTE: THIS PIECE IS AUTHORED BY UN WOMEN AS PART OF THE SERIES “FROM WHERE I STAND”, WHICH CAPTURES PEOPLES STORIES AND THEIR DAILY SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT CHALLENGES FROM AROUND THE WORLD. SEE THE FULL SERIES HERE.
I used to struggle to work in the fields but now I proceed to my office, the community solar workshop. When I arrive, I start by arranging my tools and then I begin repairing the lanterns and other equipment. Sitting down and fixing the solar equipment is a great job for me and I am very good at it. Even though I have a disability, I travelled beyond my village, beyond the closest town (Mtwara) and even to another country, India, where I studied engineering at Barefoot College.
Although I struggled at first, I eventually acquired the skills, and now I am able to use this knowledge to help my village.
Sometimes people don’t want to pay me for the work that I do. There are still some people in the village who don’t respect our work. Though my husband recognizes me as an engineer, initially many men did not. But now some of them are very happy because we not only installed the solar equipment—bringing light and electricity to their homes—but when it broke, we fixed it.
Before our village used to be in darkness once the sun had set, but now there is light. Just now two children came to take the solar lantern that I fixed for them. They had big smiles on their faces. Tonight they will be able to do their homework.
Eisha Mohammed, 41, is a solar engineer working and living in Mjimwema, a remote village in southern Tanzania. She spent six months training to be a solar engineer at the Barefoot College in India, supported by UN Women and the Government of India. Eisha’s work resonates with Sustainable Development Goal 7, which focuses on ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, while SDG 17 seeks to enhance south-south international cooperation in training and access to technology.
Impakter Editors note: Over the next two months, every Tuesday, Impakter will be republishing selected articles from the UN Women “From Where I Stand” Editorial Series. Featured Photo Credit: UN Women/Stephanie Raison