When you see this beautiful little girl, who is not yet start speaking but cherish your heart with her sweet smile anybody can think she is born from some happy couples. This sweet girl has a cozy home, she is always cuddle by her both parents and enjoy her early age surrounded by her loving families. The mother, her dad, uncles and aunties, as well as grandparents looking after her, all family members wishing her the best to see her growing and living such a wonderful life…etc.
When I was a supervisor of a school, every Wednesday students used to come without uniforms. That was the day to see many of the children dressing up. All the teachers used to admire the hair styles of the girls, the designer shoes and dresses, the boys’ jeans and their shirts were very expensive. Their lunch boxes and the best dishes they carry throughout the week, we knew it all. If any visitor appeared in that school, she could tell that she saw the happiest children in the world. The truth was not that, as I learned later on second semester. I had to visit classrooms whose parent communication books were not signed. I tied to jock with two students and end up heartbroken. That was the day I decided not to ask a simple question about their parents. Many of them had no parents, they don’t know their father or mother but they were told one of their parents are living in abroad and now they are with uncle or aunties. God only knows if their uncles were real. The day Fourth Graders asked to write a letter to their Mothers, one girl wrote a letter to her mom who was divorced when she was two. Part of the letter was saying; “Mom, how can I forget the last day you left our house? Dad slapped you on the face several times and he shouted at you to leave the house and not to come back. Your tears were flowing down your chicks, you walked to the door turning and saw us from far with tear covered face. I was too small by then. Since that day I am missing you, I don’t know when I see you again. If you see how our step mother treating us mom, you cry for your children. I wish I went with you to the village. Dad seems happy with his new wife, he never asked how we feel and never gave us the chance to talk to him….” That day the teacher and the whole class wept. The teacher brought the letter to the staffs’ office and read it for the teachers; nobody controlled his tears.
When I visited Fikir Hulegeb/ NGO- founded by a woman called Aster Worku last Tuesday, a tiny girl opened the gate for me. I was welcomed with this bay girl’s smile. I wish I snapped that smile on the same spot. Aster has joined World Pulse when I was mobilizing women to introduce and join world pulse last year. She was one the women in the first round. She works with sex workers for eleven years. Most of the former ex-sex workers who had been helped by Aster and became successful had the saddest story I ever heard before.
The baby girl is called Wengelawit. She is not yet two years old. Her mother is a former sex worker. She came to Aster’s office just after she gave birth to Wengelawit. She had a C-section, and the sore was not dry. She carried her infant girl and appeared at Aster’s office. It was not a time to take new comers by the time she arrived there. Wengelawit’s mother was raped by her cousin repeatedly and she run of her Aunt’s house and started the job. She was a chain smoker, and tired of that life. She conceived this girl and gave birth without anybody to support her.
She begged Aster; “Please let me stay here. If you throw me out, I’ll go back to the life I hate most.” Aster allowed her to stay in her office with her baby girl. the mother of Wengelawit doesn’t fill comfortable with her aunt who is the only relative around. Yes, when she was raped by her cousin nobody defend her. The only place to visit on the weekend is Aster’s home.
The other ex-sex worker was brought by her aunt from the village. She was staying with her aunt in the city and the aunt had two sons. Every evening, the girl was raped by her two cousins. She reported the two cousins to her aunt for raping her every night. Her aunt provided her pills to prevent pregnancy. The village girl went out and spoke about her life to some woman. the women advised her; “If this is your life, why don’t you go to the streets and make money selling your body instead of being used by your cousin for free?” The village girl started working following the advice of her neighbor.
All the women who have no home to stay sleep at night in the meeting hall using mattress and blanket. I visit Aster with Gash Tamiru.
We have to stand for these kinds of innocent women. I know, they don’t have the courage to come out and confront their relatives. I want to be their voice.
Anyone who wants to support Fikir Hulegeb, you can connect Aster Worku-Fb.