She admits that cultural stereotype was a challenge, but says her passion for carpentry was greater than that.

Ms Natalie Moamara Fiuta from Atta’a in North Malaita was among 800 students at the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) graduation ceremony.

Natalie graduated with a Certificate IV in carpentry and joinery, and says her hard work has finally paid off.

It’s been a long but exciting journey, Natalie recalls. When she completed her Form 6 studies at Panatina Community High School in 2011, she was given the choice of doing her Foundation studies at USP Centre or do something else.

She chose another path, perhaps the one less travelled, but a path nonetheless.

“I have always wanted to be in the field of carpentry since I was in my primary and high school days. And as I went further in my studies the idea just got stronger.

"I was not interested in other fields, where people might say is more suited for girls,” Natalie said, holding up her Certificate proudly.

“I love to build and design things, and to now be able to build a house myself is a good feeling. I know this would not be easy for me in the field of carpentry since I am a woman, but I will just work hard.

“Many people ask me why I chose carpentry, and my reply to them is it is my passion, it is what I want to do.

“Culture is very strong, and people will say my duties is supposed to be in the kitchen, and that this is a men’s job, but for me my duty is not only in the kitchen, but in fulfilling my passion,” a determined Natalie said smiling.

She says that having worked hard and now a graduate, she will find work and look for more opportunities to broaden her study.

“I encourage more women to take up such jobs, many employers now encourage equal opportunity for everyone, so we should see such fields as not just for men, but for anyone with the passion and someone willing to work hard.”


Article updated 10:22am based on feedback.