Gladness from Tanzania was only thirteen when she lost her parents. She dropped out of school and soon she was working on the streets and depending on her body to survive. Fortunately, she found out about a programme that was helping girls like her.
"My mother died of cancer when I was thirteen years old, and one year later my father had a fatal accident. I had to drop out of school and went living with my sister in Musoma. My sister was a street hawker and life was very hard. There were days without money or food. I agreed to become a domestic worker with my family in Mwanza. The man of the house started seducing me. At first I refused, but I gave in when he promised me extra money. After his wife found out, she tried to poison me. I ran away, back to Musoma, without being paid for the whole year I had worked there. That's when I started to depend on my body to survive. I was sixteen years old."
I started to depend on my body to survive. I was sixteen years old.
Gladness from Tanzania, 17 years old
"I would earn between €0,80 and €4,00, but many times my clients refused to pay and threatened me with a knife. After eight months of working in the streets, I heard about a programme that was helping girls in my situation. I went with my sister and was accepted. I am now studying hotel management and cooking at a vocational centre. Each Saturday, we have counselling and training in life skills. My dreams have come back: after graduation, I will find a job in a hotel. With the money I will earn, I will support children like me so that they can stay in school."