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Health & Community

‘Poverty And Desperation Forced Me Into Sex Work, But CeSHHAR Changed My Life For Good’: Winnie Phiri

Winnie Phiri
Winnie Phiri

By Elizabeth Nyaguyo

A 55-year-old Beitbridge widow, Winnie Phiri popularly known as “councillor wemahure” said that she poverty and desperation forced her into sex work after the death of her husband.




This according to Winnie was the only way to fend for her four children.




In an interview with Sly Media Tv during a media tour organized by the National AIDS Council (NAC), Phiri said that it was not her will to join the sex work business but the situation forced her to do so.





“It was not my will to be a sex worker but before my husband died, we had nothing, so when passed away, it became so difficult for me to take care of the children so I ended up in this industry.




“There is this lady who was my neighbour she told me to look at the life she was staying comparing it with mine l saw a very big difference so she was the one who introduced me to the business.



“The first day she took me to a popular rank 20 Rand where truck drivers were so when I got there, I had no idea that I should have protected sex not talk of collecting money from the clients so I was offering service for free,” she said.





She expressed her gratitude to her landlord for saving her life when she lost all hope.




“I want to thank my landlord she was the only one who changed my life for good when she took me to CeSHHAR.




“At CeSHHHAR, they took me as their own and gave me enough training and education on the importance of using condoms and self-empowerment.





She extended her gratification to NAC for changing her life as a sex worker.




“I want to thank NAC for the love they showed me now I am a car owner,I bought a stand and I built a four roomed house.





“Despite being a sex worker. I was taught on how to do Internal Saving and lending (ISAL) so that I won’t rely on sex work only.




“I was then become a peer educator because I used to take my fellow who were shy to go to the clinic when they were sick,” she said.



Phiri urged her fellow sex workers who are positive, like her to take their medication on time and every time as prescribed.




“I want to say to you my fellow sex workers we are all positive but make sure you won’t defile simply because you are shy to take your meds in front of the client take your medicine on time.



“Make sure whenever you go, you take your pills with you, don’t be afraid of what clients say most of them are positive as well,” she said.


Robert Tapfumaneyi