First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa observes some former commercial sex workers making detergents during their training in Hatcliffe on Monday.

FORMER commercial sex workers in Hatcliffe, Harare, shed tears of joy on Monday when First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa rolled out detergent-making and rabbit-rearing projects as part of her social rehabilitation and empowerment drive.

The intervention came barely two weeks after the First Lady had asked them what they needed so that they leave the world’s oldest profession, which exposes them to diseases and the risk of being gang-raped and murdered.

So passionate about women empowerment is the First Lady that she recently met with commercial sex workers from Mbare, Hatcliffe, Waterfalls and Domboshava.

Her aim is to rehabilitate and economically empower them through various projects.

She has set up similar projects in various communities countrywide for the benefit of women.

This comes at a time when Amai Mnangagwa is running various programmes like Nharirire and Gota/Nhanga/Ixhiba to promote good morals and ensure people live in harmony and with respect.

Addressing the women yesterday, the First Lady praised the former commercial sex workers for their zeal to start income-generating projects and implored them to remain united.

“I have come back my children so that we roll out some of the projects that you said you wanted to do. I want to thank you for the zeal to want to start these projects.

“We are now a family and we do not want those who quit. Let’s remain united for the success of our projects. Those who said they wanted to rear rabbits, ndakamhanya-mhanya through my Angel of Hope Foundation and sourced these rabbits. I have brought them for you,” she said.

The First Lady said she also ran around looking for those with expertise in detergent-making and implored the women to take notes so that they grasp the concept.

“My desire is for you to leave the streets and bars and use your hands to raise your families.

“I want you to call me later and show me what you would have achieved. Do not go backwards vanangu. As groups, I want you to meet regularly and share ideas. This demands commitment and unity so that your minds are put together,” she said.

A committee will be set among the members and they will be assisted by social workers working with the First Lady to come up with a constitution.

Experts in making detergents who accompanied the First Lady, taught the women how to make dishwasher, pine gel and toilet cleaner, among other detergents.

The women were given the products they made to sell as starter packs. Making some of the detergents can take only 10 minutes, making it easy to generate income over a short period of time.

The women sang, danced and ululated with happiness at the mother of the nation’s quick response, promising to reform and use their hands to earn clean money.

The women said they intend to keep the projects running and even expand them.

“I am grateful for what our mother has done. When she met us as sex workers, she asked what we wanted and we asked for income-generating projects.

“She did not take long before delivering on her promise. Our group is into rabbit-rearing and today we got the rabbits. We love rabbits because they multiply faster,” said the 33-year-old mother of three while beaming with pride.

Another 43-year-old former commercial sex worker who has two kids aged 28 and 22 who chose detergent-making, could not hide her joy and said she was excited by the speedy response she got from the mother of the nation.

First Lady rolls out projects for sex workers
Former commercial sex workers taking down notes on how to make detergents during their training in Hatcliffe on Monday.

“She promised us and before two weeks she came back today and equipped us with knowledge, gave us material to make pine gel, dishwashers and toilet cleaners. Our mother has lived up to her word.

“I need to start on a fresh page and encourage other ladies of the night to leave the dangerous profession. This profession is very dangerous we always come across unspeakable things.

“Thank you Amai for remembering us and we are ready to work,” she said with a broad smile.

Apart from the speedy response they got, the former ladies of the night said they were awestruck by the effort taken by the First Lady to mould morally upright citizens.

“Taive vanhu vakashoreka, but our mother has remembered us. I thank her for living up to her word and today we were taught how to make detergents.

“It will give us income and leave our risky way of life which exposed us to diseases and gang-rape.

“Some robbers would hire us and take away all the money we would have worked for, but now we are going to raise our children in a respectable manner,” said one of the former commercial sex workers.

Acting Harare town clerk Mr Bozman Matengarufu said he was grateful for the First Lady’s intervention and said council will render all the needed support for the success of the projects.

“We are grateful for the projects started by our mother here.

“As council we have a department of Social Community Services which is involved in projects that are done in communities.

“This department will work closely with the First Lady as we complement these projects she is spearheading for their success,” he said.

Before rolling out the projects, the mother of the nation went with religious, business and health experts who taught the women on several issues that include personal hygiene, attire, speech, composure, customer care, financial literacy and dignity among other topics.

Amai Mnangagwa’s motto is that she does not discriminate any of her children, they are all equal despite their circumstances in life.

Her projects and programmes are non-partisan.

SOURCE: The Herald

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