Lass keen to become a mechanic
Having enrolled in Don Bosco Technical College’s automotive engineering class, Elisapeta Manaia of Nofoalii is not letting the challenge of being the only female in her class get in the way.
She told the Samoa Observer as she worked on a vehicle’s engine in the college’s training workshop that she is determined to succeed in a male-dominated field and believes the college is where her dreams will come true.
"I have chosen this school to improve my skills and knowledge and now I am in automotive engineering as a career path, dealing with cars can be challenging but I rely on God to help me with my course," she said.
"In my family, I am the only person interested in mechanics, but we have people who are plumbers, carpenters, and others.
“But I have chosen this so that I can help my family in the mechanical area.
“I will strive to become a great mechanic person so I will be able to help not only my family but my church community and also my village.”
As the only girl in her class, the lopsided ratio has not stopped her from striving to do her best and she is always grateful for her class-boys who offer to assist her.
"As the only girl in the class, it can be a struggle. But I am grateful to the brothers as they are very respectful and very helpful whenever I needed a hand.
“This is not just a class but a family. It is just like me and my brothers at home. It is a family-oriented kind of environment.”
But enrolling for automotive engineering didn’t mean that was her first foray into education, as she has over the last years also attended sewing and other courses, but didn’t find self fulfillment.
"For the past two years, I was in sewing lessons but I know that it wasn't for me so I had to find where my passion is which was here in engineering.
“I wanted to become a sewer but I know there are other great and bigger things out there for me and engineering was looking at me.”
Ms Manaia is keen to go all the way and graduate as a fully qualified mechanic and says it is a field that other girls can and should also consider.
"To all the ladies out there, engineering is great and if I can do it then you can too,” she told this newspaper.
“It is not for boys only, ignore the comments of the people who are pulling you down and you just go with what your heart is telling you to do.
“Being a mechanic is really important to me, it is my specialty and I know one day this is what I can offer to help my family in the future.”