Brighter future for former sex worker and her daughter

Joan, a former sex worker and beneficiary of the Lady Mermaid's Bureau project, photographed in a hotel in central Kampala.
The Safe Abortion Action Fund (SAAF) which is hosted by IPPF was set up in 2006 in order to support grass-roots organisations to increase access to safe abortion. One such organisation which received support under the last round of funding is called Lady Mermaid's Bureau.

My name is Joan and I am 35. I was a sex worker for five years but now I have a fridge and I sell fruits and juice.

When the people from Lady Mermaid's Bureau (LMB) met us, they told us to come and make crafts, which I'd never done before. Then Ali from the LMB told me to get a small fridge to start off. I’m making juice now. Now business is fine and I get money for my daughter. She is at university. Her father was not helpful so I had to get money to look after myself and my daughter.

Sex workers go through a lot of difficulties. People don’t like you. Sometimes they chase you. Some catch you by force (rape). The police are not good. They chase us and others force us to have sex with them. They don’t give you money. They have sex for nothing. They are not good at all.

I kept myself safe from pregnancy while working as a sex worker. I went to the clinic, I got the pills. Now I’m on injections. It has worked very well for me, they are good.

When you go to the clinic, they tell you what to do but some people use unsafe abortion practices, like herbs and people are dying from doing that. My neighbour went through unsafe abortion with herbs. She died.

My life has completely changed. It changed a lot and I don’t want to see anyone on the street. The street is not good. There are many girls on the street but they are not in a good condition.

Ali (a programme officer at LMB) is very good friend. He is like a mother. He told me 'let’s go and buy the refrigerator'. It was 300 shillings (approximately $85). He gave me counselling and helped me to get off of the streets. 

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