Two girls and the mechanics of breaking social barriers
Kohima, July 21 (EMN): Over a year ago, two girls from Mon district broke social barriers in pursuit of their dream of becoming auto-mechanics. Pongam N Konyak of Wangti village and W Nginlei Konyak of Phuktong village are self-taught mechanics, and have now enrolled themselves at Gear Heads, located at Ladies Mile Road (below traffic point- towards Naga Hospital), in Kohima town to undergo training and enhance their skills.
They are being sponsored by the Nagaland Motorcycle Club (NMC) and will be trained under the supervision of Daniel Metha, the proprietor of Gear Heads.
Talking to media persons at the garage on July 20, the duo said that they have learned a lot in three days. “Once we learn and receive training, we hope to run our own garage in future,” they said.
Nginlei shared that it was her aunt and uncle who were always very supportive of her work.
“Although my dad isn’t employed, yet he have a big heart and is very supportive of my career,” said the 18-year-old Pongam.
Unsurprisingly, they faced many challenges when they first started out in the profession. The duo said: “It was very tough at first but we went ahead with the idea.” A lot of people, including some family members had “insulted” and “looked down” on them saying “what can you (girls) do?” they shared.
However, that did “not stop us from pursuing our passion; instead it helped us to take the challenge to show them what we can do,” they said. “Bad days make us stronger,” added the 17-year-old Nginlei.
Their message to the young people is that “money comes and goes, but learning will earn you money.” Further, they advised to follow one’s passion and not to be afraid, but always believe in oneself. The girls also thanked the NMC for providing them with the opportunity.
Peter Rutsa, founding member of NMC, said that they came to know about the girls through social media and a report carried about them by this paper last year.
On their arrival to Kohima, the NMC had provided them with lodging at the club’s temporary office near the garage along with other basic necessities for the first few days.
Apart from minor repairing, he said that the girls are yet to have hands on the complicated parts of motorcycle. But the club intends to teach them that too.
The girls expressed their gratitude to NMC for sponsoring them, and providing them free training.
To that, Rutsa responded: “We are happy that they are happy.”
The girls are now buying their own food with the money they have earned from repairing works. As of now, they earn INR 100 per day. NMC hopes that people come forward, make use of the garage and give opportunity for the girls to learn and earn more.
It may be mentioned that both the girls had initially started their careers as Taekwondo players in 2011. Pongam has a black belt and Nginlei, a green belt in Taekwondo.