US Embassy funds project in Kasane

Tebelopele Counselling and Testing Centre lead counsellor, Ms Josephine Piet’s hair and beauty salon project aimed at providing an answer to end female sex work in Kazungula has received P180 000 funding from the American Embassy.

The project has been funded through the United States President Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

Speaking in an interview recently, she said a number of health methods have been put into practice to assist female sex workers in the region and nationally.

However, she has noticed the importance of equipping these women with economic skills, which could lure them away from the sex trade permanently.

A press release issued by the American Embassy in March said Ms Piet has reached an estimated 1 500 female sex workers in Kazungula.

Her three year relationship with the women has allowed her to ask them questions during her group sessions such as whether sex trade could be a long term solution to making a living.

“I have been able to guide them into realising that this will not last forever,” she noted.

The former religious and moral education teacher said after looking into business ideas such as manufacturing and backyard gardening, she realised that an up market hair and beauty salon with trained personnel would be ideal.

“This was based on the fact that female sex workers have adapted to a service that provides fast cash, which is also an attribute of hair and beauty salons,” she opined. Ms Piet said the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) stepped in to mentor the 10 women and provided a workshop on entrepreneurship skills.

“LEA has also encouraged that the hair and beauty salon implement the incubator model approach, this will result in having a new batch of 10 women after every 12 months, ensuring that every woman in the key population gets a chance to benefit from this,” she added.

Ms Piet is keen on witnessing the project blossom into a hair and beauty school of excellence in the future. She believes the imparted knowledge would snowball into individuals being absorbed into different salons or opening their own businesses.

Furthermore, she said the hair and beauty salon would not promote female sex work, but provide a different approach to the women to provide for themselves.

LEA’s marketing analyst, Mr Phomolo Akoonyatse said during the entrepreneurship skills workshop, that they did view various funding options the project could exploit. He was pleased that funding has been awarded to the project, which he adds, shows that the steps of acquiring funding provided by LEA were followed.