No longer a pipe dream

Emeline is one of four apprentice students working with Live & Learn Tonga on the Australian government funded Tonga Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Recovery and Resilience project. This partnership is to provide practical opportunities for students to improve their skills and on-site work experience. 

This year Emeline Siale will be the first female plumbing graduate from the Tonga Institute of Science and Technology. She says, “Being the first female student to study plumbing is a challenge. When I grew up I saw my late grandfather doing plumbing and earning a good living. I saw this talent in me but never thought I would actually end up in this job. Now my dream is to commence a plumbing business of my own. I want to help women who are keen to pursue their dream as a plumber.” 

Technical Advisor Andrew Baker, Emeline’s supervisor over the past 3 months, commented, “On the first day I met Emeline I was interested in her skill level. It wasn’t long before she was pulling a toilet cistern apart and repairing leaks in the pipework. Repairing a toilet is a bit grungy and smelly but this didn’t stop this young woman from getting her hands dirty…With time and experience she will make a great plumber who will listen to the plumbing needs of women.” 
Emeline says: “I want to uncover exactly where I can have the greatest positive impact on our country, or anything that might help for women who doubt themselves in this career. I saw a great future for me in this area of work, even though many people think women cannot succeed in this job, but I am confident that I will make a good role model in this career.

“I am grateful to be a part of the WASH Recovery and Resilience project. I have learned a lot from their international technical advisors in plumbing as well as my fellow colleagues. By the time my family had planned to build our new house, I was confident enough to handle all the plumbing work myself. I’ve done it successfully and I don’t think I could have done it without the skills I’ve gained while contracted by Live & Learn. I’m proud of my job and I believe that anything is possible if you believe in yourself.” 

As part of World Toilet Day 2020, Live & Learn applauds Emeline and her progress and professional development. Flood, drought and rising sea levels threaten sanitation systems – from toilets to septic tanks to treatment plants. Everyone must have sustainable sanitation that can withstand climate change and keep communities healthy and functioning. We are proud to have Emeline working on this project to restore sustainable sanitation as part of Tonga’s recovery from the impact of recent cyclones. #WorldToiletDay