Youth are the future of tomorrow, dedicated and unwavering efforts have to be realised in order to curtail the staggering statistics of HIV/Aids among adolescence and youth worldwide.
According to the World Health Organisation, over half of all new infections worldwide are among the young people ranging between the ages of 15 and 24.
According to UNICEF, every day, it’s estimated that 6,000 young people become infected with HIV- implying that more than five youth every minute.
Young people are vulnerable to HIV especially in the second decade of their life, the adolescent stage.
Furthermore, behavioural practices such as sexual exploitation of adolescence by the old, sexual experimentation, prostitution, unprotected casual sex, and having multiple sexual partners, accelerate the spread of the pandemic.
In order to curb infections at this stage young people need to be kept occupied.
One such way to keep an adolescent busy is to occupy them with school work.
This might not be the most effective way but it is a contributory factor.
Unfortunately not all households can afford to pay school fees at formal schools to keep their children in school.
Children whose parents or primary caregivers cannot afford school end up idle and become vulnerable.
Their vulnerability is made higher by their behaviour patterns, modes of socialisation, peer pressure, alcohol and drug abuse.
Seke 6 High with the support of Mavambo Orphan Care introduced non-formal part-time and continuous education for the less privileged on the 4th of September 2017 thus creating an opportunity for less privileged school drop outs to be school.
One of the 169 students expressed how she is grateful for the opportunity she has been given considering the hardships that are prevailing home.
“I am very grateful to be in school. This might be informal to others but I see an opportunity for me to be someone tomorrow. Education is the key to success and this has given me the chance to pursue my dreams despite the fact that my parents might not afford much,” she said.
In Zimbabwe, the fight against the HIV and Aids pandemic requires an acceptance approach that stresses a shared responsibility by individuals, community groups, different levels of government and other agencies particularly as they call to attention the role of the youth in the fight against and the prevention of the disease.
Mavambo Orphan Care (MOC) provides a forum for life skills and personal development through its projects to aid those affected or infected with HIV and other vulnerable children.
MOC addressed caregivers at Seke 6 high whose children have been enrolled in the informal school on projects that can improve their livelihood.
MOC did HIV risk assessment for children and caregivers and those at high risk have been referred to clinical partners for HIV Testing Services (HTS) and further management.
MOC will continue to provide comprehensive services through its programs (Child Protection, ISAL Groups, Family Matters, Treatment Buddies, Aunty Stella, Early Childhood Stimulation and Support Groups).
These projects help build confidence and self-awareness while enabling people to live better lives.