Working in an environment that is largely dominated by males did not deter 25-year-old Fareen Begum of Labasa to achieve what she called her childhood dreams.
Ms Begum who completed a Trade Certificate in Heavy Commercial Engineering from the Fiji National University (FNU) in 2008 works as a mechanic at Shore Buses Limited in Lami.
Being the only woman employed by the company, many of her workmates say she has lived up to expectations.
Dubbed as witty but clever by her workmates, Ms Begum says entering this male-dominated field was challenging.
"When I first joined Shore Buses Limited I almost lost all hope because the boys used to bully me a lot, but it was my strength and perseverance that kept me afloat," she said.
Ms Begum said her male workmates only started respecting her when her skills and expertise were put to the test.
"I believe in hard work and when I do something I make sure it is done with dedication and perfection," she said.
Ms Begum said it was her attitude to her work that drew respect from her male workmates, who later started helping and showing her the ropes to their various jobs.
She said her journey in life was similar to that of climbing a mountain - lots of surprises along the way, the higher she climbed.
"My dad left my mother when I was still in primary school, and growing up in a farming community in Labasa was a struggle," Ms Begum said.
She said she grew up with hardships and supported her mother who worked to earn a living for the two.
And with her mother being her only pillar of strength, Ms Begum said financial constraints always used to hit them hard.
"Now my commitment and dedication has brought me to a place I always wanted to be and I am proud of what I have achieved so far in life," she said.
Ms Begum said life would give people many reasons to cry but as an individual everyone could change and make life better for themselves.