In a world where the mechanics’ trade has long been male-dominated, one woman in The Gambia defied the odds, proving that anyone can carve their path to success with determination and ingenuity. Business in Gambia’s Ebrima Sawaneh interviewed Ida Faal, a remarkable female mechanic who transitioned from studying business law to becoming a trailblazing figure in the automotive industry. (View the full interview video below).
Ida’s journey began like many others. She completed her ICM Certificate in Business Law, a path she chose due to societal expectations. However, she could not find a job and was at a crossroads.
During this uncertain period, Ida was inspired by a Gambian lady, Isatou, who was into spare business. Isatou imports and sells spare parts, probably the first Gambian woman. The experience ignited a spark in Ida, and she decided to pivot her career in a new direction – the world of mechanics.
The transition was far from easy. She has no money to start. Ida’s research also shows a gap in the skill sector, as most young people want to be in an office. She started an apprenticeship and online courses to learn auto repair skills. Drawing inspiration from her travels to conferences and training events, Ida had been accumulating per diem funds. She invested this money into her vision, believing she could make a significant impact.
With unwavering determination and the support of her aunt, Bintou Conteh, Ida launched her own business, leveraging the power of the internet to sell spare parts and offer car servicing through a user-friendly website. She recognized the importance of innovation and technology in a rapidly evolving world and made it her mission to provide customers with a seamless online experience.
Ida’s journey was not without its challenges. She had to learn the intricacies of mechanical trade, establish relationships with suppliers, and build a customer base. However, the mechanics industry in the Gambia is predominantly male, and Ida faced skepticism and gender-based stereotypes at every turn. “The challenge I face is the woman attached to my business – a woman mechanic, a female mechanic.” Ida Said. Nevertheless, she was undeterred.
Today, Ida Faal is not only a successful female entrepreneur in a male-dominated industry, but she has also been recognized as one of the rising moguls in Africa. Her story inspires young girls and anyone looking to venture into technical sectors such as mechanics and construction. She proves that with passion, determination, and a willingness to adapt, one can break through barriers and achieve one’s dreams.
Ida also advised young people, especially girls, to master their skills through investing in learning and development, seeking mentorship, and taking apprenticeships.
In closing, Ida Faal’s journey is a testament to the power of following one’s passion and refusing to be limited by societal expectations. She has shown that it is possible to thrive in any field, regardless of gender or background, by mastering your skills and embracing the opportunities that come your way. Ida’s story reminds us that tools have no gender. It is about passion and skills that drive success in this industry.