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No shame working on construction sites, says female undergraduate involved in menial jobs to make a living

While some young ladies in most tertiary institutions would take the easy way out by engaging in indecent acts with the opposite sex to get…

While some young ladies in most tertiary institutions would take the easy way out by engaging in indecent acts with the opposite sex to get money to augment whatever comes from their parents and guardians, Miss Jennifer Okuro Efemong he decided to work on a building construction site – carrying sand and cement, to make extra cash to supplement what she gets from home.

The 20-year-old 200-level student of the Department of Banking and Finance, University of Benin, said her desire to live a decent life gave her the courage to do the unthinkable in school.

The resilient Jennifer took the tasking job, usually seen as male preserve, without shame in order to keep body and soul together in school.

She said, “I see no dignity in selling one’s body for money for whatever reason. So, I have resolved to do all kinds of honest job/work to maintain my dignity.”

Jennifer, who gained admission into UNIBEN in 2018, told our correspondent that her aunt is responsible for the payment of her tuition fees.

“But I do other hand work or buying and selling to get my accommodation, textbooks, feeding money and other things I need in school.”

She said she doesn’t find it difficult taking up menial jobs since she was already used to hard work in Lagos. “I am from Edo State but reside in Lagos with my parents and since I graduated from secondary school in 2018, I have been going to Katangua local market in Lagos to hawk second hand wears, and it is as tough as other menial jobs.”

She saved the proceeds of the trading for her school upkeep.

“I continued with the business even when I entered the university. I do it during the holiday period to raise money for the new semester or session.”

Narrating how and why she engaged in construction site work, she said “When we resumed for 200 Level, I decided not to go back to Lagos till we conclude our semester examination because of the long holiday.

“But we were about to write exams when the school closed for the National Sports Festival for two weeks so, I decided on getting something to do to raise money because I didn’t plan for that extension.”

She said she got a drying cleaning job but after some days on it, she was sacked by the manager.

“When I asked what my offence was, he said they don’t have the money to pay too many workers and he wouldn’t want me to work without being paid and I left disappointed.”

She told Daily Trust Saturday that after the sad incident, while coming back from school one day, she spotted a construction site behind her hostel.

“In the evening, I walked to the site to meet the manager who told me that it is a building construction site and they don’t have any job for a female but I told him I can do any job available.

“He then told me that the only job there was mixing and carrying of concrete, sand and blocks, and I told him I am aware of that and that I want to earn money for my upkeep.

“The site manager was surprised over my resolve to do any work and he asked me ‘what if I give you the money?’ I told him I will still do the job. He then asked me to come the next day to resume work but before I left, he gave me N2,000.”

She explained that, “the following morning I left very early and we started the job at 7.30am and closed by 3pm.

“It is a three-storey building and my job the first day was to carry buckets of sand and concrete to the third floor and also fetch water and by the end of the day, I had carried 25 head pans of concrete and sand. At the close of work, I was paid N4000.”

She said she was so happy that “I earned my money through hard work.

“We did casting the first day, and I was paid N4,000 but the other days, I carried blocks to the third floor, and they pay by the numbers of block you carried in a day and each block is N25.

“I was able to make N1,250 and I worked at the site for four days before I stopped upon school resumption.”

She told Daily Trust Saturday that she has always preferred hard work with dignity and respect to getting free money from people.

“I have always been independent; I raised the money for my NECO and WAEC exams from hawking wares at the market but my aunty pays my school fees and I have to look for money for upkeep and other necessities.

“There is dignity in labour and financial independence. The more independent you are financially, the more you earn respect and I don’t want to put my whole responsibility on anybody.”

She told Daily Trust Saturday that her dream is to work in a bank like the CBN and other top financial institutions like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.


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