Experience taught me well

I am Mpokho Kherehloa, a proud member of the in loco fellowship cohort of 2020 with rise international. I am a 24 year old Mosotho woman and my life is based on challenging the status quo in the Lesotho construction industry. I hold a diploma in Construction Management from Lerotholi Polytechnic. Not only do I have managerial skills in construction but I can also get my hands dirty in the field. I love doing labor intensive work and I always considered myself the definition of what we call “the complete package”. I can easily manoeuvre in the construction industry as an employable candidate. However, I was missing an integral aspect which I personally never thought was as important as my technical skills and this was having an entrepreneurial mindset.

Mpokho bricklaying

In the five months that I have been part of this fellowship, I have learned that rise international’s dominant mission is to equip its fellows with the skills and lessons that help newly graduates to develop their attitude towards being self-sustaining and being job creators as opposed to job seekers. As a woman in  construction, one can be tamed into thinking their career is good enough by being employed as opposed to being  the employer, as the Lesotho construction industry is male dominated. I also wanted to change the normality of having more men in construction than women.

Mpokho in the wiring process

I knew about this fellowship through a Whatsapp group, which talked about construction so it obviously grabbed my immediate attention.  So I applied just because I qualified for it, little did I know that there was more to the program than just construction work, there is intense business training. I am five months into the program with about 2 months left to completion. These five months felt like a whole 2 years, not because it was that difficult, but because of the knowledge and site experience I have gained. This experience has been everything and more than I could have ever imagined.

Mphokho checking levels of foundation

I  mentioned that I am a woman who knows her business and am not shy to get my hands dirty.  I  already knew most things that had to do with construction besides bricklaying and therefore my take away in construction skills so far is bricklaying. As for the entrepreneurship aspect there is a whole lot that I have learned, that has opened my eyes, and directed my way of thinking to be organized and be an executer. These lessons include good communication skills, taking calculated risks without doubting yourself, marketing strategies, customer care and how to prepare a business plan from start to end. And I have no doubt that with these skills acquired I will definitely be the complete package that I aspire to be.

Mpokho cutting timber

Apart from being inspired to be a job creator, I have a dream to contribute to my community by founding an orphanage. The reason is that I believe in giving everyone a chance to find their purpose, and having a warm bed to sleep in, food to eat and education meets the individual half way in helping them find their true purpose. Also it breaks my heart whenever I see homeless and abused children. So I believe my true purpose in this life is to give hope and support to those in great need of it.

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