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Special Initiatives

Magreth Frederick Chitinya

25 November 2019

Dodoma, United Republic of Tanzania

I am 19 years old and have worked in different houses as a domestic worker since I was 15 years old when I finished Grade 7, which I didn’t pass. My family couldn’t afford to send me to private school to continue my education. The biggest issue with being a domestic worker is that the employers do not pay me—they promise to pay, but then they never do.

First, I worked in Dodoma, the capital of the United Republic of Tanzania.

Then in 2018 I moved to Dar es Salaam—the biggest city in the country—to work. Here I worked in two houses, but I was not paid. After a few months I came back to Bahi, in Dodoma region, because of what happened to me in the third house.

One day my employer beat me, stripped me naked and chased me out of the house without my clothes. The children of my employer had been home from boarding school for the holidays and had taken my phone to call their father.

My employer took my phone and saw that it had her husband’s phone number in the outgoing calls and she became very angry and told me to leave.

When she chased me out of the house naked, nobody helped me—the neighbours were just looking on. I had worked there for five months, but I never saw any of my pay.

It was good that I came back to Bahi. Now I work in a house where they pay me and treat me well. I use the money to help my family.

I am also allowed to work as a peer educator for the Tanzania Youth Alliance project, where I have been trained to educate other girls and young women like me on prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections and the importance of going for testing.

Some young women in my village are married, but their husbands cheat on them, so they come to ask me about condoms and where they can get them.

I also advise the girls to keep themselves busy with life activities such as small businesses or farming to avoid having to exchange sex for money.

During a normal day I get up at 05.00 and go to fetch water. Then I clean the house and prepare the tea for breakfast. After breakfast, I prepare for lunch and then in the afternoon we sometimes go to church, since my boss is a pastor.

In the early evening I bath the small child of the house and I prepare the dinner. I usually go to bed at 9pm.

My dream is to become a nurse—if I get a chance to go back to school and study.

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