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There are over 150 000 women in South Africa are forced into prostitution. Rather than making the conscious choice, they are pushed into this life by a corrosive cycle of poverty. Lisa is one of those women.
Lisa did not choose this, but circumstances including a background of poverty and violence forced her in that direction. Growing up in an under-resourced community, she came home from school every day at midday and was never exposed to various activities. At home, her mother was never there as she was also out selling herself on the street. Gradually, Lisa begins to skip more and more school, staying out of the streets to occupy herself, until eventually she drops out for terms at a time. On the street she finds herself involved with bad people, doing drugs and having sex recklessly. At 18, Lisa becomes a single mother with no way to support her child and self. Devoid of options and opportunities, she turns to prostitution.
For six years, Lisa endures rapes and beatings, systematically abused and exploited by the system. A survivor, she is still emotionally and physically traumatized and unsure of how to pick up the pieces and regain control over her life.
Then she discovers Vheneka. This begins her journey of healing, renewal, and self-actualization. Through Vheneka’s psycho-social support and skills empowerment workshops, Lisa has begun to reshape her life and find fulfillment for herself and her family.
After acquiring leather crafting skills, she was able to start her own small business, an extremely empowering endeavor and step towards greater personal autonomy. Making leather bracelets and wallets, she generates an income selling to family, friends, and local flea markets. Now, Lisa can send her children to school, providing them with a better life and attempting to break the cycle of poverty that took hold of hers. In the next year, she even hopes to further expand her business.

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