Sex Worker who became a school teacher

Sex Worker who became a school teacher

A young 23 years old lady, Hana Belay was born and raised in Yayo town of Oromia region. After competing high school education in her home town, she married to a merchant and became a mother of a baby boy in the first year of her marriage. A year later, she was obliged to break her marriage as she couldn’t withstand physical and emotional violence by her partner. One day, she decided to look for another opportunity and this day was the begging of new chapter in her life.

Stay On Project

She fled to Addis Ababa, the capital city where most considered it as land of opportunity. She spent few days in the broker house with her son looking for a job as a housemaid. Later on, she was told by the broker that none of his customers are willing to hire a mother with a baby as a house maid and told her that the only available option is to rent a small house and to engage in commercial sex work. She too realized that it was not easy to get a formal job in the city and decided to join the sex work business as advised by the broker. 

During the first three years, life seemed pretty good and she was earning a lot of money that is quite adequate to lead her life. After three years, she started to experience gradual loss of weight and having fever intermittently. But she didn’t want to visit clinic and frightened to tell to anyone. After FGAE launched Stay On Project, demand creators deployed by Merkato FSW clinic had a regular outreach program in the hotspot areas. In one of the days, while the demand creators made a home-to-home visit, they saw Hana sleeping in her bed. The outreach worker counseled her on her health condition and availability of medical care at the nearby clinic free of any charge for SWs. As Hana has been getting weak and couldn’t do her business as before, she agreed to visit the nearby SW friendly clinic. And, the demand creator gave her referral accompany and facilitated her transportation to the clinic. As soon as she arrived at the clinic, she was registered and allowed to enter in to the examination room.

Hana said, “The nurse at the clinic after asking my health problem, she counseled me about HIV and offered me voluntary HIV testing. This time, I decided to know my HIV status and gave a sample at the laboratory. Even though, I know that I had so many risks to acquire HIV infection, I was afraid to hear the result anyways”. After few minutes, the nurse called her to office and told that the test result was positive for HIV showing the virus is in her blood.  Hana further said, “She counseled me well about what positive result mean and how I could cope up with positive living. The nurse again ordered another laboratory test and my CD4 count was very low at 100 as I was very weak. Based on the result, the nurse advised me to start anti-HIV treatment as early as possible and then, I was convinced and started my anti-HIV treatment at this clinic by end of 2020”. Since then, “my health condition has begun improving considerably and continued my regular follow up at Merkato SWs friendly clinic. In each of my follow up for drug refill, the relationship I have with the staff and demand creators has been getting close”. In one of my refill, Hana said I was asked by the clinic coordinator if I am volunteer to serve other fellow SWs as a peer educator. “I was happy with opportunity and started  educating  other women’s  who  are  working in a similar business  to  work  in  safe  and  healthy  manner. It was a good opportunity to actively be involved in such peer education program”. 

A joyful life

FGAE helped her to get peer education training, and Hana became one of volunteers/demand creator serving Merkato FSWs friendly. Hana thanked the clinic coordinator by saying, “by mid-2021, there was an opportunity of vocational training by government and I was awarded scholarship based on the recommendation by the clinic coordinator”. After completion of the training, “I joined Betesb academy and currently I am a kindergarten teacher in Betesb academy. My single boy is also free from HIV and I am very happy in life now”. She has a regular ART follow-up at Merkato SWF clinic and recently her viral load test result is < 600 copy & CD4 count is 780.  And, Hana concluded her speech by saying, “I am very healthy, still actively involved in peer education program and would like to thank FGAE and the project for giving me such opportunity and joyful life”.

 

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