An 18-year-old female Advanced Level student from Chivhu says she has turned to prostitution to raise school fees for her final term and money for university.
Mercy (not real name), told Health Times that she completed her Ordinary Level studies in 2018 in Chivhu and passed 10 subjects including Mathematics, English, and science subjects.
When coronavirus forced the closure of schools in March, Mercy came to Harare to live with her unemployed sister.
Mercy thought she could raise fees and enrol for extra lessons since she will be writing her final ‘A’ Level exams later this year.
However, her mother lost her reliable source of livelihood – vending – after the government imposed an indefinite lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Said Mercy:
I am from Chivhu but these days I live with my sister here in Harare. My mother’s vending business has been bad, she can no longer afford to pay for my fees. Even food, she can’t afford to feed us.
I was left with no option, I wanted money for food, school fees and to raise money for University as well.
The only easy option I found was to get into sex work since almost every other avenue seem to have been closed by the coronavirus.
I will be writing my final examinations this year and I am optimistic that I am going to pass.
I also want to go for extra lessons since I am towards writing my final examinations this year and unfortunately, I have no one to assist me financially at the moment.
Mercy is afraid that she may contract HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in the process as some of her clients demand unsafe sex.
She is planning to return to Chivhu on September 16. She said her first term fees were pegged at ZWL$1 210 but the new fees structure for the final term has not been shared as yet.