By Joyce Mukucha
In a bid to rehabilitate and give a foundation for an independent life to commercial sex workers in Epworth, the German Embassy donated nine sewing machines and opened a sewing factory for them.
The scheme that sought to steer up their lives, empower as well as give them a meaningful purpose is called ‘Garment Project’. The donation of the equipment was requested by the Springs of Life Zimbabwe, a non-governmental organisation which works with sex workers in Epworth. The launch that was graced by the Member of the House of Assembly for Epworth Constituency, Zalerah Makari took place on the 15th of March 2018.
In an interview with Mrs Evans-Traub Dagmar, the first Secretary of Germany Embassy, said her country was committed to helping communities in Zimbabwe by giving women alternative means of survival. Mrs Dagmar said she was happy when Springs of Life requested for help from her embassy.
Mrs Dagmar said the project would undoubtedly have a positive impact on the whole community and she commended Springs of Life for their endless effort of connecting with the Embassy to give everybody a chance for a better future. She encouraged the women to make the centre a success.
“I’m pleased that Springs of Life Zimbabwe contacted the German Embassy to ask for help to implement this garment project in order to shape better lives here in Epworth. I urge women who will be part of this centre to work hard together through exchanging of ideas. This ‘Garment Project’ is not only for this generation but also offers a better life for all the children in Epworth.
“This event that brought us together today makes me happy in a special way since it touches a subject dear to my heart – the betterment of the lives of less privileged and vulnerable women. I hope these sewing machines will help them to be self-sufficient and not to depend on sex work,” she said.
Other communities the Embassy is catering for are located in Bulawayo where they have three projects and the other projects are being done in Mutare.
Layton Marisa, the Secretary and Founder of Springs of Life expressed his gratitude to the German Embassy for empowering ladies of his community and the community at large. He indicated that empowering a woman is empowering the whole nation.
“I would like to thank the German Embassy with special thanks going to Mrs Dagmar because like a candle, they have sacrificed to burn themselves in order to provide light to others and they are leaving remarkable footprints on the sands of time. The marks shall always be visible in Epworth,” Marisa said.
He also urged other organisations to stop giving the community a fish as spoon feeding boost dependency but rather give them resources that can help to make Epworth a better community. To the sex workers who were still in the dark, Marisa encouraged them to come for empowerment.
Addressing sex workers during the project launch, Makari emphasised that Epworth has become synonymous with sex workers but said her aim was to empower these women through learning different projects so that when they go into the world they present a change.
Honourable Makari said she considered these women as her own daughters and promised to continue working with them as her trust was rooted in them. She said the women were going to yield fruitful results from the garment project and become able to look after their children.
“You, as women who are being helped, be bold enough to stand for yourself. There is need to completely eradicate commercial sex work in our community. A lot of work has to be done. You are supposed to show commitment to these projects,” she said.
As a caring MP to her constituents and as the woman who has a heart for other women, Makari handed over sewing threads, shoes for children and rice to the community.
“I’m concerned about you not only as the MP but as a woman also. I know you will make me proud. We are planning to open a resource centre that will accommodate everyone. You will showcase talents in any project as we aim to eradicate commecial sex work in Epworth. To the German Embassy and Springs of Life, I say thank you for your support. I could not achieved this alone so your joint efforts mean a lot to me,” Honourable Makari said.
The Springs of Life was established in January 2016 with the aim of empowering sex workers in the community of Epworth. Currently it is catering for 350 of them. The projects which they are extending to these sex workers include baking, poultry production as well as trading.