Shahanaz apa got separated from her parents at age seven, and with no one to attend to her needs, apa has had to provide for herself since then.
Having been deprived of parental care herself, her two children are the most important to her, and taking care of them is her top priority — a priority she is currently struggling to fulfil due to the devastatingly low level of income of about 400-500tk per night resulting from the pandemic.
Shahanaz apa’s daughter is studying in grade six, but her son has had to take up work in a car shop to help his mother cope with their family’s expenses. Apa tries her best to finish up work by 12am at night to return home to her children.
Having been unexpectedly thrust into this predicament at such a young age, apa initially had no knowledge regarding sexually transmitted infections and diseases and their prevention methods. However, upon being made aware, she began requesting her customers to use condoms — a request that was essentially met with refusal, reluctance and occasionally even violence, as the customers claimed using condoms reduced their pleasure. But with more information about STDs and STIs being available, Shahanaz apa claims that a greater portion of customers now agree to wearing condoms.
Prepared by Fairuz Reza and edited by Prithul Hia
This piece was made in collaboration with Bodol and TransEnd.