From school dropouts to building a future in construction

From school dropouts to building a future in construction

Vishü Rita Krocha
Kohima | July 17


“There is always work to do if you are not lazy,” Rezü Rhi impresses upon while looking back on his journey as a construction worker. Over the last few years, he has been engaging himself in stonework, mostly building retaining walls and securing homes. He has found that there is so much scope in the construction sector and it is where he is earning enough to raise his 5 children.


While not proud of the fact that he is a school dropout, Rezü certainly wishes that the young, educated people would also get involved in construction. He emphasizes that they can give the much needed boost to the construction sector. “Provided they have the interest, it would benefit them as well as the state,” he says.


Like most construction workers, he learned the skills by observing others and also firmly believes that “the more you practice, the better you get.” When he is not doing construction work, Rezü keeps himself busy in the fields, cultivating fruits. But given a choice between the two, he would still pick construction.


He is currently engaged in stonework at the construction of Chief Minister’s residential office behind the Nagaland Legislative Assembly, Kohima. Along with him is a group of construction workers from Zhavame village, who have been working together at the site since 2015.


Pfükhulu Movi is one of them, and has been in the field for over a decade. Young, but well experienced, he started doing construction work way back in 2005. He recalls his first earning to be Rs. 100 per day as a ‘Jugali’. Eventually with time and experience, he saw a sweeping growth in his income in the last 10 years. Today, as a ‘senior misteri’ in the field, he earns sufficient money to lead a comfortable life.


He was also one of the construction workers who helped build the native gallery in Zhavame village. This particular gallery had left an impression on the then Chief Minister of Nagaland, Neiphiu Rio during his visit to the village and he had proposed constructing similar gallery in Tuophema village, which was eventually built. The replica of the gallery was subsequently constructed by the same team – Zhavame Labour Union – in few other places, including NSF Solidarity Park in Kohima, Dimapur and Mokokchung districts respectively.


For the duo – Rezü Rhi and Pfükhulu Movi, construction does not only mean livelihood but it is something that they do out of sheer interest and find it worth investing their time, energy and sweat into.


*Year of Construction Workers (YOCW) is a joint program of the Government of Nagaland in partnership with YouthNet, Zynorique and the Department of Labour & Employment, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.