Joana, Leticia’s 19-year-old friend, felt trapped in a business she despised. To her, it was part of the struggle women with few options have to go through to earn a living. She recalls what she experienced at the hands of brutal and demeaning 'clients'.
The vocational training centre in Lilongwe offers a range of courses such as sewing classes and textile design. Photo: Hien Doan
“One day, a client beat me up, and treated me in despicable ways for no apparent reason. One night, another man teased me on how poor my services were and knifed me in the face without even paying.” As Joana shared this experience, she touched a huge scar on her cheek, sobbing uncontrollably.
When the two young women meet now, they have something joyful to talk about – how their lives have changed for the better through their studies at the Vocational Training Center (VTC).
“The programme has been a big game changer for us. It has changed us from being ‘bad girls’, ostracised by our communities, to fully trained tailors, designers and chefs. That is an achievement,” said Joana, who has trained to become a chef.
“SOS Children’s Villages believes that every child and young person should have the right to quality care and opportunities,” said Ken Nkhonjera, VTC principal. “We also realise that some professions, like sex work, threatens the provision of quality care to children as the sex workers are either wandering about, leaving their children unattended, or exposing their children to this life, leaving children in need of alternative care.”