“My name is Nesta and I live in Bulawayo. I am 27 years old and a mother of two. I used to spend a lot of my time drinking with my friends and that is how I eventually started sex work. In most cases I would meet people who didn’t want to have sex with condoms. I knew little about HIV and I realise now that I believed many myths about the virus. I had so many questions about my life but I couldn’t find the answers to these questions.
I heard about the Shining Star Project through Siza their outreach worker. Through them I learnt about the importance of using condoms, about the transmission of STIs and about cervical cancer.
When I first met the other ladies we talked about the Bible at a meeting in the church. I started reading the Bible and this helped me to eventually stop drinking.
There were so many activities. I have learned cooking, baking, and sewing. Other organisations don’t offer all of these trainings and they are very beneficial to our lives. I never thought I would do anything with my hands! I had a sewing machine but I didn’t know how to use it. Now I sell things that I have sewn and take orders from schools for school uniforms and from people in the community.
Coming out of sex work has improved my life a lot. Financially I can now support myself and my children through the clothes I make. The women at Shining Star have become my friends and my family.
Shining Star gave me the answers I was looking for. My hope for the future is that my children will not follow my past footsteps. On the weekend my children now say ‘Mom, you’re not going out drinking?’ and I reply ‘No, tomorrow I am going to church.’ ”
Nesta is just one of our peer educator’s whose life has been radically transformed by the love of Christ. We thank God for each of the women we work with through the Shining Star Project as they come to know more fully the love and grace their Creator has for them.