In rural Tanzania, like the US, bike mechanics has long been a field dominated by men. Two women, Luice and Lucia, are changing this through their work as mechanics at a globalbike-supported bike shop. Luice and Lucia provide a valuable technical service to the bike shop and bike users they support, and they are leading social change in their community by engaging in nontraditional work. In doing so, they encounter and overcome challenges common to many women around the globe.
Luice has worked for the past two years providing mechanical and business management support for the Kazi na Sala bike shop. She has been instrumental in the success of the shop by helping repair and maintain bicycles and by keeping an organized record of all shop activities. Luice has to juggle her job at the bike shop with raising her three children. Usually, her younger two children are playing in the shop while she works. Luice shared with globalbike staff how this balance between work and home is one of the greatest challenges of being a female bike mechanic. She says that many people first viewed her job as “a man's job” and discouraged her from engaging in bike mechanics, but their words did not stop Luice. Now that she has proven herself capable, she feels empowered in the community. If Luice was not working for the bike shop, she would work on a farm or start her own small business. Being a bike manager helps women like Luice earn a regular salary and develop transferable skills.
Lucia has also supported the Kazi na Sala bike shop as a second shop mechanic since December of 2017. She often provides outreach to other globalbike projects to help repair rental bikes or train new mechanics. Like Luice, two of her four children are often playing in the bike shop together. Lucia says that her salary enables her to make enough money to send her older children to secondary school and to still save money, which she was unable to do before. Prior to working in the bike shop, Lucia sold drinks out of her home and worked on a farm.
Thanks to Luice and Lucia for making the Kazi na Sala bike shop possible and for serving their communities. Thanks to our partner on this project, The TATU Project, who provides business skills training and accounting support to Kazi na Sala and the bike shop team.