COMMERCIAL s_əx workers in Epworth have started income-generating projects as a way of empowering themselves after business came to a halt during the Covid-19 lockdown.
They have since formed a group, Springs of Life, where they are doing poultry projects in Overspill and are in the process of establishing a bakery.
The women said the idea came into being during the Covid-19 lockdown when they were failing to make ends meet.
Precious Musindo, founder of the Springs of Life, said they were working with s_əx workers to improve their way of life.
“We work with s_əx workers both male, female and transgender and we are doing various income-generating projects to sustain them and their families. Currently, we are doing a poultry project and we are in the process of establishing a bakery.
“We are also doing what we call Community Lady Monitoring where we have community health workers who are going to hospitals and collect data on s_əx workers’ access to healthcare. We have also managed to have s_əx-worker-friendly rooms in our local clinics for the treatment of s_əx workers,” she said.
Tendai Magutsa, a s_əx worker, said she was happy to be part of the team that was doing the poultry project and she was looking forward to leaving the profession.
“Indulging in s_əx work is because of desperation and if we get more income-generating projects we can leave the profession. These days we are facing difficulties and we end up charging very little money for survival,” she said.
Another s_əx worker who only identified herself as Natasha said she was happy to be part of the team that was engaged n income-generating projects.
She said she was facing bullying from her senior counterparts and was relieved with the poultry project as she no longer solicits for men.
“I used to encounter various challenges of people who would not want to pay after rendering them services because of my age. Senior s_əx workers used to bully me, but now I am happy that I can generate some money,” she said.
National Aids Council district aids coordinator Mrs Ethina Samanga said most women in Epworth engaged in s_əx work because people in the satellite area rely on informal businesses.
“The settlement is informal and the people rely on buying and selling, and Epworth is a national hotspot in terms of HIV. We have organisations that are helping s_əx workers and they are doing income-generating projects to sustain them,” she said.