"A quick fix and an easy way of making money", but for Chipo finding a way out was incredibly hard

Chipo (a pseudonym) is a twenty-four years old and a single mother of two. She lives in Chiúre, Cabo Delgado, Mozambique. She had to tdrop out of school when she was only in her eight grade since her mother was struggling to care for Chipo and her six siblings. She tells us their home situation was dire and she felt as if she was supposed to do something about it. If only she knew how. Some of Chipo’s friends convinced her to sell sex. It was seen as a quick fix and easy way of making money. Before she knew it she was in, and a way out seemed incredibly hard. 

This is Chipo’s story:

I knew the risks associated with sex work, I wanted to stop but every time I thought about the situation at home, I simply couldn’t. I worked during the night and sometimes during the day, at truck stops, nightclubs, guest houses and on the streets, always looking for clients. I did sex work in exchange for some goods and money, but I encountered a lot of challenges. I have endured various types of violence, from physical to psychological. I have been discriminated in different ways by clients and people in the community in general. Sometimes some customers used me and didn’t pay me at all or paid an insignificant amount, that we hadn’t agreed on beforehand.

Even after experiencing so much abuse and unpleasant situations I never thought of giving up because it was my only source of income for my family and myself. I couldn’t talk to anyone about what I experienced on a daily basis. One fine morning, I met a woman from my community who introduced herself as a Change Agent. She was attached with Wiwanana Foundation, a sub grant of IOM, under the Skills2Live project she told me about. I did not waste any more time because I instantly felt that this was my breakthrough. I went to the offices to sign up for the pastry(baking) courses. After a few weeks of training, I could bake scones, muffins and many other confectionaries. I started to sell some of the products and I started earning more in a week than I would earn in a month.

Since then, I have stopped selling sex and I feel my life has changed for the better. The Life Skills that I learned and the entrepreneurship that I have been taught, have transformed my perspective about life. I feel hopeful again.”.

Chipo has completed her training and managed to receive a start-up kit from the project. Chipo is among thousands of young people who benefit from Skills2Live. She is a hardworking and dedicated young person with a bright future ahead of her. Chipo can now provide for herself and her family and is a role model for young people around her.

*Please note that we use a pseudonym and do not show Chipo in pictures for safety reasons.

Skills2Live is a consortium with Frontline AIDS, International Organization for Migration Mozambique and ideiaLab and funded by Embassy of the Netherlands in Mozambique. Skills2Live is being implemented in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.