As we celebrate phenomenal women making a huge splash in their industries through the AfriBlocks platform, we cannot help but be impressed. The high caliber of work delivery, professionalism, and creativity that these ladies bring to the table cannot be understated.
Whether working as part-time or full-time freelancers, it humbles us to see so many women on the platform who are also full-time students and/or parents and still be able to deliver, meet, then exceed their clients’ expectations!
Faith and her son.
One of these barrier-breaking women who is changing perceptions is Faith Gwara. As a 28-year-old mother of one, she works as a tax consultant while studying towards her BSc in Applied Accounting with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).
Faith was sold on the Afriblocks model after being introduced by a friend. She signed up as a freelancer and joined the WhatsApp groups to keep an eye out for jobs that for which she qualified. Updates would be posted quite regularly on these platforms, but it would not be until a few months later that she felt comfortable enough to select her first freelance job. “I was not discouraged by not getting freelance jobs for some months because I knew it was only a matter of time until more clients would request services from AfriBlocks,” Faith reflects. “I also had to make sure I had an excellent profile in order to get my first job and make sure I had equipped myself for the job requirements. Freelance work is something I thought was not for me initially, as it was something new. I always thought it was only for those in developed countries and I am happy that AfriBlocks got into the game and changed the narrative.”
Faith appreciates the flexibility that comes with working as a freelancer. Depending on how disciplined one is with their time management, a freelancer can effectively focus on two or three jobs at a time if the workload allows for it. More work equals more income and jobs done well definitely boost your portfolio. “Freelance work is flexible, it can allow you to do your business while also working on the platform. As they say, every dollar counts,” she says. “Another reason why I would encourage other women to get into freelance work is that it broadens one’s abilities, increases knowledge and it is a good networking platform.”
As an aspiring qualified accountant, Faith mainly works with numbers; however, her freelance work as a Virtual Assistant has introduced her to the world of technology which was foreign to her before dealing with AfriBlocks. “I thought it was difficult or not for me; I am learning every day,” she says. “I have become more familiar with the productivity tools that I also use at my day job and I can say I am becoming better at what I do. I am more time-conscious now, more organized. All this is because of the systems I have been exposed to and the different people I have been working with who desire their work to be done in a unique manner and style. Learning from all these people and situations has definitely made me a better employee.”
When it comes to concerns regarding gender bias in getting jobs on the AfriBlocks platform, Faith has never encountered any issues. However, she does feel that women may still think there are jobs that are not traditionally meant for them. There are not as many women who do software development, for example, or web design and graphic illustration compared to their male counterparts. Because of this, she encourages more women to develop these skills so they are in an equal or better position to get these jobs.
Another friend introduced illustrator, graphic designer, and artist, Chengetai Lerato to AfriBlocks. Knowing she did illustration, her friend forwarded a job alert and Tongayi Choto’s contact information to Chengetai, who reached out to him and worked on her first project. That was the beginning of a fruitful presence on the platform for her.
“There are definitely many advantages to working as a freelancer on AfriBlocks,” she says. “For one, with the way the world has been turning and the COVID-19 pandemic, you can work from the comfort of your home and your time is flexible. You choose your workload. Once you have agreed with your client on deliverables and timelines, you can organize yourself to meet those targets.” She also points out that having the freedom to focus your energy on doing what you do best as opposed to hunting for contracts yourself is a huge benefit.
When it comes to working in an industry that is considered mainly male-dominated, Chengetai has not experienced any challenges since she started out. She feels that she has access to the same opportunities as the male freelancers on the platform. Sometimes, with a number of female clients preferring to work with a female creative to infuse that particular perspective into the work, she feels a slight advantage.
Chengatai’s Illustrations Work
Influenced by her experiences, Chengetai highly encourages other women who are considering it to get into freelance work, whether in a full-time capacity or to supplement their income. “It really is all about putting yourself out there. You would be surprised what may come of it.” She expressed that being on the platform and offering your services exposes you to a variety of industries and projects. “Your work will speak for itself and you are matched with clients looking for what you offer, regardless of gender. You can meet your revenue goals on your own terms thanks to its flexibility. Either way, you are building yourself in a positive manner.”
Breaking through ceilings and creating a new narrative, these amazing women are examples of those that #ChooseToChallenge pre-set notions regarding women in their industries. We applaud their initiative and drive in everything they do, whether at home, at school, at work, or with the AfriBlocks family!