International Women’s Day Appeal
International Women’s Day 2018 is a time to celebrate the achievements of the suffragettes and the centenary of women’s voting rights. It is also a time to commit to transforming the lives of women and girls who are subject to extreme gender inequality. #PressforProgress is the theme for this year.
African Initiatives is launching its International Women’s Day Appeal on behalf of female sex workers living in the rural north of Tanzania; they are some of the most marginalised people in the world today.
In Tanzania, sex work is illegal. But it is widespread. Many pastoralist women and girls are traditionally denied the right to go to school or to own land/property by male clan leaders; sex work may seem the only economic opportunity open to them.
Isabella was forced into sex work at the age of 12 when she was orphaned and left with three younger siblings to feed. “The sex work is not a good living and the violence is very bad. We are beaten and abused so much. I have been forced into anal sex without my permission and my clients do not pay me at times. The police harass and arrest us – we are only released when we agree with their demands.”
African Initiatives and our grassroots partner, the Tanzania Women Research Foundation, are now appealing for your support so we can extend the reach of our vital project that empowers female sex workers through education. Isabella is a beneficiary of the project and has learned about HIV prevention and other sexual and reproductive health matters. She is also now aware of issues such as gender-based violence and that, as a woman, she does have human rights. In the future, she is hoping to learn business skills if African Initiatives and TAWREF can secure sufficient funding.
Please support our International Women’s Day Appeal. It costs surprisingly little to make change happen. For example:
- £15 could pay for 15 primary school girls to be tested for HIV/AIDS
- £25 could enable a Maasai woman to learn about sexual reproductive health and her rights
- £50 could provide 2 pastoralist girls with uniform, textbooks and hygiene products for a year
- £100 could pay for micro-finance training so 10 women like Isabella can set up their own businesses