Shabina Bhanu belongs to the Bommanahalli zone and shares with us her journey of joining the NGO Swathi Manae.
Shabina Bhanu’s neighbour had been working Swathi Manae when she introduced her to the co-operative bank facility they offer; she was shown how she can save money there as a result. She had been actively saving for a while when one day, her daughter fell from a two-storey building and she had suddenly required a large sum of money for the operation. She used up all her savings and Swathi Manae also supported her with funds; thankfully, her daughter was soon out of danger. From there on she decided to work for the organisation and the sex workers’ community. She even explained it to her husband that his friends might see her with the women she worked with and that he should not misunderstand her. “I may be on the field working to raise awareness among the sex workers about the use of condoms so that they are protected against HIV infection.”
When RJ Radha questioned her about her first visit to Swathi Manae, Shabina admitted that at that time, it had been uncomfortable for her. “But when I needed a work, they gave me a job as an outreach worker.” As an outreach worker, she raises awareness on the use of condoms, helps workers open bank accounts, advises them about savings, and if anyone contracts HIV, then she takes extra care of them and their medications. She feels happy serving the women’s community. “I had no idea that such an organisation existed and today, I feel proud of bring here.”
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