"I want to be someone who my family and country are proud of."

Neeshan defies convention every time she turns up for work in her home country of the Maldives. Working in a traditionally male industry isn’t without its challenges but, ever since she was taken on tours of her father’s construction sites as a young girl, Neeshan knew this was what she wanted to do.

“My father inspired me to do construction work. After joining the apprenticeship programme, I loved the day-to-day physical work and now want to go on and study civil engineering.”

She notes that her reception has shifted as her time on the job has progressed. Where once her male co-workers offered to help with heavy lifting, they now ask Neeshan for advice when faced with the most technically-challenging tasks.

Neeshan was chosen by UNICEF to feature in a photo essay, demonstrating the work the organisation is doing to bridge the gap between education and employment.

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