My name is Cindy and I am 30 years old. I live in Kireka, a township in Central Uganda, together with my two lovely daughters. I earn my money as a sex worker. I was a married woman between 1997 and 2003, and lived in Bukoto. I divorced my husband, because I found out that he was cheating on me with another woman. When I came to know about it, we fought badly and he harmed me. He left me and the children in the house, but I decided to leave the place and rent a room in Kireka.

Then I started to ask myself what I could do for my children. I went to my sister and asked for help. But she replied that I should have made plans for the children before giving birth. So I had to find a way myself to get money and survive. One day, in the night, I was walking in the street near the railway and I saw ladies standing there. I talked to one of them, Sheila. I asked her what they were doing there. I had heard them telling men to come and touch their private parts and give them 5,000 Ugandan shillings. Sheila explained to me how to make money. The following day I went back and started calling men. I greeted the first client in English, and he asked me how much he should give me. I told him 5,000. He was surprised that I could even speak English. I handled him and he gave me 10,000. He is still a client. That first day on the street I made 23,000 shillings. Around 10 o’clock in the evening I went home, and I was so happy and excited.

That first day on the street I made 23,000 shillings. I was so happy and excited

I made a plan to save money, and decided to keep 5,000 each day and use the rest for living. The neighbours started to suspect me, because they saw that my life had changed. I paid the school fee for my children and the house rent. Life moved on for us. But the neighbours abused my daughters, telling them that I was a sex worker. I told my children that they shouldn’t mind as long as they got what they wanted.

I met Diana from WONETHA when she came to do outreach and encouraged us sex workers to get tested for HIV. I tested positive and started taking ARVs (antiretroviral drugs). The support offered by Diana meant a lot for me and I promised her that I would assist her in her work anytime she needed me. Diana took my phone number and after some time she called me. She asked me to work as a peer educator in Kireka, and I agreed. I attended a meeting, and then started to work for WONETHA. I learned so much and feel so proud now. Sex work is what I do for a living!

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