Blog by: Wotesawa
Having been brought up in Burundi, Mulungazi Village, life was normal for Doriana Merikiadi. Doriana, the oldest of four, lived with her parents who worked as casual workers on nearby farms. Growing up, Doriana never thought that her dreams of going to school and having a normal childhood would be shot down. This sad reality materialised in 2013 when one of their neighbours advised her parents to send her to Mwanza in the neighbouring Tanzania to work as a domestic worker with the promise of paying her Tanzanian shillings 20,000 (7 Euros) per month. This was music to their ears as the family needed the money to cope with the normal demands of life.
Life took a darker turn after her mother passed on and Doriana had to quit her job to go back home and fend for her younger siblings. Her employer managed to convince her to come back to work with the promise of taking care of her siblings and ensuring that they went to school. This, however, did not come to pass as her employer sent her younger siblings off to other houses as domestic workers as well. Exploitation and extremely long working hours soon became the norm of her life. Knowing that she had no one to go back to and that her siblings were all in Tanzania, Doriana’s employer took the abuse to another level. She stopped paying her and demanded that Doriana should be the one chipping in to cover the households’ expenditure. She started pushing her towards commercial sex work in addition to the housework. When Doriana could not conform, she was chased away.
A Good Samaritan helped Doriana report her case to the police station where she was also linked up with WoteSawa a local domestic workers organisation supported by Voice in Tanzania. WoteSawa helped Doriana trace all her siblings who were too young to be working anyway and placed them in a home where they would also go to school. WoteSawa team has been working tirelessly to reunite the siblings to their relatives in Burundi but this has not been successful.
However, her situation is much better as Doriana has been trained as a beautician by WoteSawa and now enjoys her hard earned money with her siblings!!