In Conversation: Shefali Apa

Image credit: economist.com


INTERVIEW


Shefali was only a five-year-old when her parents died. This incident led her to moving into her uncle’s place. And that’s when the catastrophe began. Her uncle — whom she put all her trust in — gave her away to a random man who eventually sold her to a brothel. As days passed by, it became harder for Shefali to reside there. She finally mustered up the courage to run away and started living in the streets. In her words, that’s how she spent her childhood — by running away from place to place and begging on the streets.

Shefali’s work comes with a high risk of being infected with various kinds of STIs and STDs. Although free condoms are often provided and distributed by healthcare workers in the area, male customers rarely want to use them. According to Shefali, the majority of customers don’t want to co-operate when it comes to using condoms. But, keeping her own safety in mind, she refuses to work without using protection.

Shefali got married but eventually had no choice but to separate from her abusive husband. Now, she is a single mother of two sons and a daughter. She has got big dreams for her children. She wants them to become educated and self independent. However, due to her financial disabilities she can’t even afford a home to live in, let alone sending her kids to school. When asked where she lives now, she revealed that she resides in the streets of Sadarghat or any depopulated area around launch terminals.

 


Prepared by Rezwana Saima and Nuha Mustafa


This piece was made in collaboration with Bodol and TransEnd.

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