By Winston W. Parley
Indian businessman and philanthropist Mr. Upjit Singh Sachdeva’s (Mr. Jeety’s) ongoing construction of a US$25m tyre factory has attracted several Liberian female tractor operators on the site in Cinta District, Weala, Margibi County.
During a visit to the site over the weekend, three female tractor operators were seen steering the wheels of a convoy of tractors ahead of Mr. Jeety’s planned meeting with local leaders in Weala, whose blessings he had gone there to seek.
When the Jeety Rubber Processing Factory begins producing tyres in 2026, it will be the first of its kind in Liberia, and it will also mark a major shift from just exporting tons of latex to trading of made in Liberia tyres.
Through an interview on the project site on Saturday, 25 June 2022, a team of journalists heard words of encouragement from three of the female tractor operators that are working along with their male counterparts at the Jeety Rubber Processing Factory.
Ms. Sianneh G. Kerkulah, Ms. Winner Binda, and Ms. Roseline Sieh have all had prior experiences in driving tractors dating back to 2013 and 2014 with different concessions before joining the Jeety team recently.
However, they lost their previous jobs when the companies that had trained them laid off some employees during the COVID – 19 crisis, among others.
Ms. Sianneh G. Kerkulah, a single mother of two kids, said she chose to operate a tractor and be able to advance herself and earn money to support her family.
Using the interview to encourage other women to engage in similar work, Sianneh said it can’t be easy at times when a woman only depends on a man’s pocket.
“Some of them will get it, but they will not [be] able to release it to you to help yourself,” said Sianneh.
“So, I am just trying to encourage my friends, it’s not good to just sit down and depend on [a] man alone,” she noted.
Sianneh believes that sometimes when a woman is taking self-help initiative, it can move a man to buttress her effort and push her forward.
Winner Binda, another female tractor driver at the Jeety Rubber Processing Factory, said what encouraged her to operate the heavy-duty earth-moving equipment is the advantage that some men take over women.
“Because if you [are] sitting down [at] home, when you are not doing [anything], when they go do their work … they will never report to you. They will not even value you,” said Winner.
She however dismissed a rumor spread by some females that when women drive tractors, they won’t be able to give birth.
“Later I was pregnant and I [gave birth], and I am having my baby with me. So I encourage other people that are saying negative things about tractors, let them try their best and come see for themselves,” said Winner.
Asked about the working conditions at Jeety Rubber Company, Winner said it was okay with her.
For her part, Roseline Sieh said that sometimes when a woman has no job, men can make fun of her.
Despite all the disadvantages that she said unemployed women encounter, Roseline decided to learn how to operate heavy-duty moving equipment in 2014 and she worked in Grand Kru and Sinoe Counties until COVID – 19 struck and workers were laid off.
“For now, I am even willing to learn more, not this tractor alone. If I have the opportunity to learn, I can learn more than this,” said Roseline.
Regarding their working relationship with their male counterparts at the Jeety Rubber Processing, the women said it is good.
Beside the three women interviewed, Roseline said there were other females that drive tractors at the site.
Earlier in an interview with Mr. Moses Kollie, a caretaker of former Senator Henry Yallah’s Farmers’ Hope Company, dismissed reports that waste from rubber that is bought from local farmers was being dumped into the river and causing water pollution.
Instead, Mr. Kollie explained that they bury the waste after extracting the good products. Farmers’ Hope is using one acre of land of Mr. Jeety’s Rubber Processing Factory’s vast land in Cita to buy from local rubber farmers. Farmers’ Hope pays US$1.00 annually for occupying the land.
Later during a meeting with the local leaders and prominent citizens of Weala on the construction site, Mr. Jeety said he had no other purpose for calling the locals but to seek their blessing as he invests in their community and the society at large.
In attendance at the meeting were Cita Commissioner Roland Johnson, Paramount Chief Fahn G. Lepolu, Clan Chief Musu Yango, former Senator Henry Yallah, Youth Leader Anthony Kollie, other citizens, and Jeety’s workers, among others.
Mr. Jeety thanked the local leaders for receiving him with open arms in their community and telling them the factory will be one of the largest factories in the country. He said it will be buying rubber from farmers, small and big holders.
Jeety also assured the locals that employees will be recruited from the host community. He informed them that he has already acquired a property which has 24 bedrooms on the German Camp Road to serve the Jeety Rubber Processing and the public.
He said he has brought in a Pakistani Medical Doctor to provide health services there upon completion.
During the meeting, the local leaders thanked Mr. Jeety for the great investment which will provide jobs for the children and bring light into the community.
“The development that you are bringing to us, it’s not for you one … you finish [opening] a big corridor for this part of Liberia. People can come from any place and come here for [a] job, they will get it,” Paramount Chief Fahn G. Lepolu said in appreciation of Mr. Jeety.
“I came today [and] I saw many of our citizens working here now. You know when poverty [is] somewhere, if [there is] no work, that’s how they can say no money in the country then even if you are not rogue, you will start stealing,” said Clan Chief Musu Yango.
She thanked Mr. Jeety for the investment, and for also remembering the traditional people to give him their blessing.
“The thing y’all now do for us, I don’t know how to tell you thank you … because y’all have opened our eyes, y’all have [brought] light to our life that we will benefit,” Madam Yango said.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/jeety-constructs-us25m-tyre-factory/