From Country, to University, to Prostitute
It is a sad commentary to report that many young women in Africa are turning to prostitution as a means to support their educational aspirations. Yes, you heard right, young women are selling their bodies to pay for their education. They leave home virgins and come to the university with the hope they will be able to better their lives, but the price they pay is a high one. At Axum University I encounter many women who became prostitutes and got "sugar daddies" as a means to supplement their income to pay college tuition, and purchase personal care items. It was heart breaking! Now I am in Uganda working and the same exist here, and I suspect it happens all across Africa. Young women in Universities need financial assistance to stay in school.
What to do, I started the Women's Resource Center for Training and Development with the hopes that young women would be able to get entreprunerial training, and gain access to internet resources, and training in health. It is still functional. However, it can be much improved, hence the need to establish a more competent center with more emphasis on developing income generating projects, and establishing links with other women's resource centers for volunteer assistance and internships with female students from other college campuses.
It breaks my heart every time I hear of female students offering their bodies to their professors, to get better grades or to get income. It is a common incident and the only way to stop it is through awareness. As most of you know in the west, the University is a place of advancement and not one you attend to degrade yourself, but unfortunately, this is not the case in Africa, and more awareness and assistance needs to flow to this area to stop this silent crime.
Any suggestions and program solutions are welcome, as we begin to tackle this prevalent issue in Uganda.