‘I’m a better lady through ACT’

Grace Makazhu  Firstlink College, Form 4 Dzivaresekwa

A SMALL room at Dzivaresekwa 1 Community Centre has now become the biggest room in our lives – life changing! The AIDS Counselling Trust (ACT), a volunteer oriented non-profit making organisation, has given us a gift which has made so much impact in our lives as the young people. They officially opened a Youth Friendly Resource Centre (YFRC) on the 8th of June 2016 in order to accelerate Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) services delivery for the young people.
We can now access free SRHR education and counselling, free internet, referral services, library, games and so much more.
This has been an emotional journey for some of us who had issues and knew not who to turn to.
To me it seemed as if my body was betraying me by growing into a woman when I was not yet ready to be one but I have to say ACT has helped to demystify it for me. Now I live as a cautious young lady empowered with knowledge and understanding of SRHR issues.
I was also empowered at the recently held Training of Trainers workshop hosted by ACT.
I was selected to undergo training as a peer educator for the youth in our area to help them deal with modern day issues affecting the young generation. The following were some of the issues that were brought about at the workshop and will give a brief summary of what I learnt during the tenure of the workshop.
HIV is a virus that is spread by having unprotected sex with an infected person and sharing sharp object like needles, razor blades and pins. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like Gonorrhoea, Syphilis, Bacterial Vaginas, and Herpes can hasten the passing on of HIV from one person to another during sexual contact.
Whilst there has been concerns over the spread of HIV and AIDS, it has had a negative impact on our generation especially the young people of school going age.
I learnt that peer pressure among the youth has been rampant resulting in school dropouts, rejection by the family, friends and even the society as a whole and the stress that comes with trying to cope with the changed life.
Disagreements between the parents may lead to Gender based violence which also affects the youth and the nation at large.
“The youth are the nation of the future!” if they are not protected or have their issues addressed it will hinder the future of our beloved country!
The Youth Friendly Resource Centre (YFRC) is a positive move towards HIV awareness and educating the youth on the ways to stay safe. I urge my fellow youths to use the resource centre as well as the information derived thereof.
I would like to thank the AIDS counselling Trust for the establishment of the Youth Friendly Resource Centre and for their unwavering support for training me as a peer educator so that I will help in imparting the same knowledge to my fellow youth.

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