Jennifer Rupiya is one of the few women carpenters in Zimbabwe. She began her activity in 2010 with no formal training and today, she is among the most sought-after carpenters in the city.
Before starting her Charlywood Investments business six years ago, Jennifer Rupiya was selling snacks to other carpenters. Today, she runs a profitable business in a predominantly male sector. “I was attracted to this profession, which is a passion for me, a labor that is often associated with men because I do not believe there is a difference between what men can do and what women can do. ”
But integrating the market had not been easy for this 45-year-old woman, as some clients are reluctant to entrust their work to a woman. She was encouraged when many began to appreciate her services. Jennifer’s sofas are sold for $ 100 to $ 1,000. Customers select shop catalog designs where they can have their seats customized according to their own specifications. “At the end of the month, I can make up to 2,000 US dollars sales. I have a payment system whereby customers can make a deposit and then pay the balance after an agreed period of time, so in a week I can make sales from 500 to 1000 US dollars. “
Her ambition is to open at least three other stores outside the capital city. Some of her colleagues claim to have been inspired to see her evolve her business over the years. “We invite as many women as possible to integrate this trade because they are heads of households and in case the husband dies, they may still be able to take care of their families,” said Enoch Manhunha, a carpenter. “Factories are closed, there are no more jobs for women, and one of the means to make a living is to do a job like this,” said Ronny Katerere, another carpenter.
Jennifer wants to encourage other women to follow her example and engage themselves in areas that are considered male domains.