By Taonga Nyirenda
Rumphi, Rumphi Commercial Sex Workers Alliance has donated personal protective equipment (PPEs) to over 30 commercial sex workers who ply their business at Bolero Trading Centre in the district to prevent them and clients from contracting the novel Coronavirus.
Speaking Monday in an interview with Malawi News Agency, the Alliance’s Chairperson, Lusiya Kumwenda, said commercial sex workers face a lot of challenges in the wake of COVID-19 due to the dwindling of business and their vulnerability to contracting Corona virus.
“Business of commercial sex has gone down due to the pandemic and this makes us fail to fend for the families we support.
“If we cannot find our basic needs, it is, therefore, obvious that we cannot find protective gear to assist us from COVID-19.
“We are also one of the most vulnerable groups that are at great risk of contracting Coronavirus because we receive clients from everywhere, even areas which have been hit hard by the pandemic.
“But there is nothing else we can do because we need money,” Kumwenda explained.
“We sought assistance from Chikulamayembe Women’s Forum (CKWF) considering our vulnerability to COVID-19 and the knowledge gap that exists among commercial sex workers regarding the pandemic.
“Our target is to reach to all commercial sex workers operating in the district,” she said.
CKWF Executive Director, Tiwonge Gondwe said her organisation decided to support the alliance considering that such a vulnerable group is sidelined in many activities besides facing discrimination because of the community’s perception towards them.
“Our aim is to promote the rights of minority groups because our cultural beliefs make people to sideline them due to the nature of their business.
“These are human beings and are entitled to their rights which are supposed to be respected as well,” Gondwe said.
CKWF, with financial support from Agent Action Fund through Just Associates (JASS), is working in collaboration with Rumphi Commercial Sex Workers Alliance to promote rights of the minority groups which are sidelined in communities due to nature of their work.
The donated materials included reusable face masks, hand sanitizers and soap.