NAIROBI, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- When Delilah Wendy Aminilwa, a middle aged mother of two, was recruited by China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) to work as an office messenger, little did she imagine that she would one day rise through the ranks to clinch the coveted position of an assistant personnel manager.
Born and raised in a farming village in western Kenya, Aminilwa was among few girls who defied restrictions imposed by a patriarchal society to pursue post-primary education that was enough to secure a blue-collar job back in the day.
"It has been a long, challenging but rewarding journey since I joined CRBC to work in its road construction projects in the coastal region. My younger colleagues marvel when I tell them how we defied enormous hurdles working in remote corners of the country yet we eventually prevailed," said Aminilwa.
She spoke to Xinhua on Tuesday during an event to award outstanding local employees organized by the Chinese Embassy in Kenya and Kenya China Economic and Trade Association (KCETA).
Aminilwa was among 55 local employees working for Chinese firms who were awarded certificates and trophies in recognition of their exemplary service, passion and professional integrity.
"I'm grateful to my employer for recognizing my service and look forward to upgrade managerial skills as we expand our presence in Kenya's infrastructure scene," said Aminilwa.
The self-confessed multi-tasker said that working for different projects that CRBC has been implementing in Kenya for more than two decades taught her vital skills like networking and inter-personal relations that paved way for upward mobility.
"I can say with confidence that the last 22 years have greatly shaped my outlook towards life and am now more bold and ready to seize opportunities that come my way, "Aminilwa remarked.
The 55 Kenyan employees working for Chinese firms who were recognized for their exemplary service and drawn from 24 counties will travel to Beijing and Shanghai in two batches in April 2019.
Richard Gowi, legal manager with Huawei Technologies (Kenya) Co Ltd, said his 12 years stint at the firm has been transformative thanks to in-house training, extensive travel and satisfactory remuneration.
"The last 12 years since I joined Huawei have been marked with tremendous growth and a positive outlook towards life thanks to the numerous training and working tours the company has accorded me," said Gowi.
He revealed that he has travelled to China twice and looked forward to next year's visit that he hopes will unlock new opportunities.
"My visits to Shenzhen and Guangzhou were an eye opener and I came to appreciate the technological and industrial leap China has made in a relatively short period," Gowi told Xinhua.
Senior Kenyan officials who attended the award ceremony for outstanding local employees working for Chinese companies said the gesture reaffirmed the growing economic and cultural ties between Nairobi and Beijing.
"As we celebrate these employees who were honored for their distinguished service, we should bear in mind that Chinese companies that have invested heavily in Kenya are facilitating mutual cooperation in the economic and cultural fields," said Ababu Namwamba, chief administrative secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He lauded Chinese firms for accelerating localization of employment, saying the move will strengthen bonds of friendship between two long-standing allies.
The World Bank said in a 2016 report that Chinese enterprises in Kenya employed 360 locals compared to 147 who were employed by other foreign enterprises based in the East Africa's largest economy.
Leonard Mpoke, senior administrator at Keda (Kenya) Ceramics Co Ltd which is located about 60 km southeast of the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, said his three years' work experience at the largest tiles manufacturing firm in east and central Africa, has been rewarding in his professional and social life.
"My employer has given me latitude to explore new horizons and that is why I feel motivated to work harder and deliver impeccable results. Local employees in my organization interact freely with our Chinese colleagues to share knowledge and ideas that can contribute to our growth," said Mpoke.
He lauded Chinese enterprises for harnessing local talent to implement projects that are in line with Kenya's socio-economic transformation agenda.