“I believe the Aviation College is very crucial for the future of the Eritrean Air force” – 2nd Lieut. Hana Kidane
Throughout history, Eritrean women have been icons of determination and diligence. From household chores to jobs that highly-skilled people, they have demonstrated their unshakable work spirit.
Meet Second Lieutenant Hana Kidane, a 23-year-old Eritrean who has recently graduated from the College of Aviation of Eritrea as a pilot. She has shared her experiences with us in the following interview.
Q : Thank you for your time, Hana. Please introduce yourself.
Thank you for having me. I’m a 2022 graduate of the College of Aviation of Eritrea. I was born in 1998 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and came to Eritrea in 1999. I went to elementary and junior schools in Adi-Guaedad and did high school at the Barka Secondary School. Then I joined a technical school and went to Sawa in 2016. I joined the Eritrean Air Force in 2017, right after I got back from Sawa.
Q : What was your experience in college like?
It was amazing. It took us three years to complete the program — two years of theoretical and a year of practical training. The first two years were intense with a lot of exams. We couldn’t get much sleep. But we had a clear goal and we held on to that.
At the beginning, I thought it was going to be tough for us girls as it was intense; however, it never felt tough once we got into college. Our fellow boys kept encouraging us and supporting us throughout the college years.
Our department mates and instructors were also very supportive, which gave us hope and faith. Our instructors were everything that we could have asked for. They took care of us like brothers and sisters. Of course, we were willing and determined to reach our goals and were finally able to make it.
Graduation ceremony, presided by President Isaias Afwerki, held today at Asmara's Air Force base for 250 cadets/pilots who completed their training courses on aircraft technology; air-defence missile and radar systems; aviation theories and pilots for different fighter aircraft. pic.twitter.com/UgVnF21Gij
— Yemane G. Meskel (@hawelti) May 31, 2019
Q : What was your first time training to fly and your first solo flight like?
I don’t have sufficient words for that. It was all that I wished to experience while we were learning the theoretical part. Being able to maneuver an aircraft in the sky on your own gave me satisfaction and joy. My first solo flight was in Massawa where we flew 1200 feet high and remained airborne for 30 minutes. I was a bit nervous during the first practical training on the sky. I successfully completed my mission, and that was the happiest day of my college life.
Q : What do you think about people in our society who portray women as weak compared to their men counterparts when it comes to doing a job that requires high skills?
Such people should open their eyes and see it isn’t true. We are able to graduate just like our male counterparts. Around 15-20 females graduated with us in different fields. If a girl is willing to achieve anything, she can and there should be no doubt about that.
#Eritrea's Aviation College conferred, in its 1st Commencement held at Fenkil Airforce Base in Massawa tdy, Advanced Diplomas for graduates in three-year programmes of Pilot Training; & Maintenance of Aircraft; Electronics; & Radars; & Certificates for EAF graduates in Seamanship pic.twitter.com/n1vKYL5fQO
— Yemane G. Meskel (@hawelti) February 25, 2022
As females, we should never let things such as age affect our dream journey. Thinking about marriage and having children should never prevent us from having big dreams because it’s all about time management. Manage your time well and you’ll be able to go through the process of life on time. Don’t lose great education and job opportunities for things that you’ll be able to achieve sooner or later. Age shouldn’t be a factor to stop us from doing what we are supposed to do.
Q : Women in our country aren’t very well represented in the job market. What do you think is the problem and how should it be solved?
You are right. But it doesn’t mean that we females are weaker or slower. It’s all about the willingness and taking initiative. We know our mothers and grandmothers fought along with their fellow brothers and fathers for their nation’s freedom. We have what it takes in our heads, so let’s just have a winning mindset. Everything is possible if we just believe that we can do it. Our country is providing us with opportunities that no one would get easier. Why shouldn’t we use it? The next aviation college students must walk through this journey with hope, diligence and determination. And we should always remember that the people and the government are with us and supporting us.
Our mothers were able to leave their marks on our history, working with determination despite the colonization and pressure from society. With less pressure, there can’t be anything we can’t achieve now in the modern world. We just need to take one step at a time and strive to be where we want to be and who we want to be.
Q : Are there any other remarks you would like to make?
I advise young Eritrean girls to pursue their dreams despite pressures that might possibly come along their ways. We are the products of our magnificent mothers and grandmothers, and so let’s all vow to keep up the hard-working spirit that we inherited.
This is just the beginning for those of us who have graduated. Students of the aviation college and also the youth everywhere must strive to do better every single day. We have now got our license as pilots and we’ll continue to get to the top and serve our nation and people.
Our aviation college’s first commencement was undeniably successful. I think the aviation college is very crucial for the future of the Eritrean Air force.
(Written by SABRINA SOLOMON | SHABAIT)