ELIZABETH (not real name) (33) could not enroll in University or College at a young age owing to a myriad of factors chief among them being economic factors and lack of funds to support her through tertiary education. When the Women’s University In Africa (WUA) opened up applications for block release studies, she applied and enrolled for a Bachelor of Social Work, Honors Degree.
By Michael Gwarisa recently in Macheke
Elizabeth is married, but her husband has since migrated into the diaspora where he is doing some menial jobs and hardly sends any money for her and her children’s upkeep and school fees for her and her kids. Faced with the predicament of deferring her studies, Elizabeth joined the world’s oldest profession two years ago and migrated to Macheke where she plies her trade between Macheke and Rusape.
In an interview with HealthTimes on the sidelines of an Editors and Station Managers tour of Macheke, Elizabeth says she wants to quit and focus on her studies but the pending bill of US$1000 she has with her school is hindering her from viewing her results on the E-Learning platform in the process blocking her from going for attachment in August this year.
I am student and i am also into sex work and i am also a mother and i have got a husband. The challenge that is there is the issue of school fees. The issue of tuition pushed me into sex work because my husband works in South Africa but does not have a permanent job. He earns little money and therefore cant even afford to look after us or pay for my fees.
“At the moment, tuition at my University is going for US$500.00 and you cant write examinations without clearing fees or go for attachment. So i take advantage of the fact that my husband is in South Africa and i go by Mutare road to wait for Trucks and sell sex to truck drivers. I usually end my journey at Rusape, get paid and return home,” said Elizabeth.
She says in a good night, she can do three to four trips each earning at least US$20. She says she started sex work soon after enrolling in college and she now has two years experience as a sex worker.
“The program i am doing has four years and right now it’s worse because i am supposed to go for attachment in August. I have not paid last semester’s fees because of COVID-19. My husband does not know that this is what i do. I at times ask my parents to lie on behalf and say they would have paid my fees. Even though i have not told my parents that i am into sex work, i am sure they now know.”
Despite Sex Work being risky business, Elizabeth says she had no other option but to take up sex work which seemed like a low hanging fruit as compared to other forms of work. She however says this has affected her children’s performance in school and feels if she gets assistance to start a poultry project, she can quit sex work for good.
“If i get someone who pledges to assist and help with starting a poultry or Piggery project, i will gladly stop sex work and focus on the project and my studies. Sex work is risky business, one day i know i might even get caught by my husband and it will not end well. I really need to stop sex work and lead a life without guilt.
“I still love my husband and my family. Leaving my kids behind everyday or locking them inside the house lying that i am going to school during mid weeks stresses me. Its not an easy job. Unlike others who enjoy sex work, i on the other hand am not made for this but circumstances force me to do this,” Elizabeth added.