Our Stories

Support a Fish Trader or Truck Driver!

For $300 we can pilot a gender and context specific program to address the health and mental health needs of one fish trader or truck driver. 

 

The truck driver program will be delivered through WhatsApp peer groups and will include: 

1) HIV education

2) COVID related support while truck drivers are in quarantine upon their arrival in country

3) emotional coping and problem solving skills to address the impact of ongoing daily stressors

 

The fish trader program will be delivered both through in-person social distanced groups and WhatsApp groups, and will include: 

1) HIV education and condom negotiation

2) emotional coping and problem solving to address the impact of ongoing daily stressors

3) capital of $100 to start an alternative business in conjunction to fish trading

4) economic/financial literacy and skill building

 

Help us reach our goal of piloting our program for at least 30 truckers and 30 fish traders! 

Please learn about some of the strengths and challenges of the migrants we work with below. 

(Please note that the names and stories are not representative of real people but are based on qualitative findings and formative research among these populations).

Click Here to Donate

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Kitana Age 38

Kitana was born in a small village close to Sinazongwe, a town in the Southern Province of Zambia, lying on the north shore of Lake Kariba. Kitana is 38 years old and a widow. She started in the fish trading business 10 years ago when her husband passed away. Since that time, Kitana has felt enormous pressure to provide for her family of six (three children aged 15, 13, and 10, in addition to a niece and nephew from her late sister). As the head of her household, her children value her strength and resilience, and at the same time, worry about her stress. She has symptoms of post traumatic stress and complicated grief due to the loss of her husband and sister, in addition to ongoing daily stressors. In the past couple of months, Kitana has engaged in transactional sex with fishermen in order to obtain more fish and provide for her family. 

Mubanga Age 29

Mubanga was born in a village near the Kafue River. Like Mubanga as a young girl, her two children (an 8 year old boy and a 6 year old girl) do not go to school. There are no schools near the river where they live. Mubanga worries about her children’s future, especially since she has no one in town to help support them. Mubanga has been working as a fish-trader for the past 10 years. Focused on providing for her children, Mubanga wakes up very early each day and heads down to the river where she is often exposed to traumatic events. She has witnessed people drowning in the water and other terrible accidents due to overcrowding and unsafe working environments. However, Mubanga feels she has no choice but to continue working as a fishtrader since she does not have an education and needs to provide for her children. Her fortitude, strength and strong religious spirit guides her throughout the difficult and challenging days.

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Busiku Age 51

Busiku was born in Sinyunyu village and is a married woman with 6 children and 4 grandchildren. Busiku takes care of her husband who is sick and unable to work. She is considered wise and possesses a kind of calmness and understanding that is often valued by others in her village. Many of the women know Busiku as the “mother” of the community and seek out her advice when facing challenges. Basiku has worked as a fishtrader her entire adult life. Like many of the fishtraders, Busiku has engaged in transactional sex with fisherman for fish. Busiku has been assaulted several times when the fish supply was limited and she could not get enough fish to sell. While the work is hard and often demeaning, she feels a responsibility to the younger girls and women caught up in the fish-trading business. Just last month, she witnessed a 12- year old girl forced into marriage at the river. This young girl reminded Busiku of herself, bringing painful memories and feelings of grief. 

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Peter Age 29

Peter was born in Samfya and currently lives in Kabwe.  He is a married man with two children and a baby on the way. Peter considers himself lucky since he was able to finish the 9th grade. He has been a truck driver for over 8 years and spends most of his time on the road. Peter is often under extreme stress to complete trips across borders, delivering goods between neighboring countries. He often worries about his safety while abroad due to being a foreigner and feeling unsafe. Since he spends long periods of time  on the road, he is often  away from his wife and children. Peter has not been home for 8 months and deeply misses his wife and family. For the last several years, Peter has engaged in sex with sex-workers while being away from his family. One of his friends and fellow truck driver recently died from AIDS-related complications. Peter worries about contracting HIV and is often woken up by nightmares. Concerned he may already have it, Peter fears getting tested for HIV. 

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Walubita Age 58

Walubita is a married man with 5 children and 4 grandchildren. He was born in Senanga and is a truck driver in Lusaka. Walubita has yet to meet 3 of his grandchildren since he is away most of the year. Walubita feels guilty for leaving his family for long periods of time, but the stress and worry about money is even more burdensome for him. Walubita and his family are constantly living on the verge of poverty which puts extreme pressure on him to complete truck driving trips. Walubita lives in fear of getting mugged and jumped while on the road. He has been attacked numerous times while on jobs taking goods from South Africa back to Zambia, his home country. He has spent weeks recovering from major injuries sustained during these attacks. Walubita is concerned he may not make it back home one day and his family will wonder what happened to him. Nevertheless, Walubita continues to work in order to provide his family. 

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Joshua Age 34

Joshua was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. He is a truck driver in Chirundu and works long hours on the road. Joshua was involved in a bad truck accident two years ago. Since this traumatic experience, Joshua has vivid and terrifying nightmares and visions. While experiencing truck accidents can be common for truck drivers in Zimbabwe and Zambia, Joshua felt like something was wrong with him after the incident. In order to cope, he began having sex with women at truckstops while on the road. Jushua feels guilty that he is engaging in sex with women who are not his wife. Several months ago, Joshua tested positive for HIV. He is worried he will die since he knows several people who have died a few years after being diagnosed with HIV. Joshua feels his wife and family at home do not emotionally support him which makes him feel lonely. All of these stressors are a burden on Joshua, yet he remains  focused on completing his routes and earning money for his family.