First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa talks to former ladies of the night about the importance of earning decent income while Mrs Priscilla Charumbira looks on in Bikita, Masvingo on Friday. — Picture: John Manzongo

DESPERATION arising from poverty and being orphaned are among major factors that drive women into prostitution, health ambassador Auxillia Mnangagwa heard last week Friday.

The mother of the nation fought back tears listening to harrowing tales from women in Masvingo who thought they could look after themselves and their families from proceeds of the world’s oldest profession.

Amai Mnangagwa is working tooth and nail to ensure the former ladies of the night are rehabilitated and empowered.

She is encouraging them to quit the oldest profession and earn clean money through using their hands as she continues with her drive of not leaving anyone behind. Through her Angel of Hope Foundation, Amai Mnangagwa has already started income generating projects for former ladies of the night drawn from different locations in Harare.

The First Lady asked the ladies who were operating from Nyika Growth Point if they were willing to shun prostitution and engage in projects to which they agreed. She asked them to point out projects they would want to engage in and the women chose goat rearing and poultry projects. One woman said she entered the profession as a 12-year-old girl to sustain herself after her father had passed on and her mother hand remarried and abandoned her.

“I started this profession in 1988 after being born in 1976 because life was hard for me,” the 45-year-old woman narrated amid tears. I would sometimes live in the bush or in the bridge until one woman felt pity for me and took me to Jerera. I later had a child who died before I had another one in 1996 who was married just after Grade 7 and now has four children whom I look after.

 “I am now old and less attractive so I do not get regular clients hence i am willing to quit and start on a clean page with the help of our mother, the First Lady. We are so happy that she has come to our rescue. If we follow what we have been told here by the First Lady, I would be empowered. I will no longer return to this profession but call others to join projects being rolled out for our benefit by the First Lady.

 “I will gather my colleagues and tell them that I got a reception I did not expect from our caring mother who does not select her children,” she said.

Her 33-year-old colleague, who promised to change said she started bedding men for survival in 2008 and narrated how they were sometimes brutalised by clients or be slept with without protection.

“I am 33 and started this work in 2008 I am thankful for the projects because we have many challenges and school fees and rentals to contend with. With what she has done, she has uplifted us because we meet many challenges in our work,” she said.

Another former lady of the night quipped: “I am 38 years old. After school I stayed about seven years before delving into this profession. I have been in this business for eight years but it is not helpful. What the First Lady is doing for us countrywide is indescribable and I am so happy. We are ready to start the projects.”

In her remarks, the First Lady implored the women to quit prostitution and raise their children through dignified means

“We will together be able to build a base to leave this oldest profession if we work hard. This is an unhelpful old profession which even makes it hard for you to look after the children. I want to know whether there is something you are able to do because I know you are so many. I want you to come into groups to work using our hands. We need to work hard to change. You entered the profession because of different situations you came across,” the First Lady said.

She assured the women they would succeed if they committed themselves to working hard.

SOURCE: The Herald

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