When Nasra Haji Hussein left home in central Somalia in search of a job, working as mechanic was not one of the options she had in mind. But two years on, having defied gender stereotypes, she is proof that opportunities still exist in the war-torn country. Ivor Bennett reports
They're not the hands you'd expect of a mechanic. But that doesn't stop them from doing the job. They belong to Nasra Haji Hussein - Somalia's first female car mechanic. (SOUNDBITE) (Somali) NASRA HAJI HUSSEIN, MECHANIC, SAYING: "I repair different types of cars luxury cars, bullet proof cars and pickups. Sometimes I service trucks when they are brought to the garage." Nasra didn't exactly choose the profession. An elderly father, a sick mother, she was just 16 when she had to start providing for her family But finding work in Somalia's capital Mogadishu isn't easy. The country's been without an effective central government for 26 years. This garage was the only place that offered Nasra a job. (SOUNDBITE) (Somali) CAR MECHANIC, NASRA HAJI HUSSEIN IBRAHIM, SAYING: "When I came to the city I wasn't encouraged, no one offered me a job so I decided to become a mechanic to help my family. When I got paid and sent money to my parents, my father asked me where I got the money from, and I told him that I am a mechanic. He encouraged me to work harder." But in a largely male domain, not everyone was so encouraging. Nasra says she was ridiculed at first. But now, she hears nothing but praise. (SOUNDBITE) (Somali) NASRA'S CLIENT, NUX SHEIKH ABDI, SAYING: "She has repaired my car very well and she did it right on time just as we agreed." Nasra makes 300 dollars a months from her job. But the value it has to other young Somalis could be far greater - inspiring them to find an opportunity where many believe there is none.