Drug and substance abuse is proving to be a menace among the youth and young people in Zimbabwe as the plague gets exacerbated by poverty, unemployment and stress caused by family and social challenges. The spate is growing more in urban areas where the wave is spilling into schools putting the future of children into a predicament.
Takunda Jambwa almost lost it all to drugs owing to the divorce of her parents in 2013 when she was 9 years old. She had to live under the custody of her grandmother who later on died in 2015 and left her in the hands of her uncle, brother to her mother. This is when hell broke loose for Takunda as his uncle would physically and emotionally abuse her to the point of starvation.
As Takunda narrates, she started taking drugs in 2015 as a way of evading from her uncle’s abusive behaviour. She said a good number of learners at her former school were into drugs and she simply joined the bandwagon in trying to comfort herself.
“I would smoke and eat ganja cakes to intoxicate myself so that I would not worry about food or pay attention to the abuses of my uncle. This was not out of choice but I had limited options. Some of my colleagues were into drugs, so I just joined them.”Takunda said.
She said she received enlightenment when Mavambo Orphan Care (MOC) staff and the Child Advisory Board Committee visited her school on an awareness talking about the dangers of drugs and substance abuse. It is then that she approached the team and expressed her willingness to stop taking drugs.
“The team looked for me until they found me at the school. I wanted to run away but they would not let me go. I was brought to MOC where I received counselling and they took me to Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals where medical examinations revealed that I had developed ulcers as a result of incessant use of drugs and stress,” stated Takunda.
Takunda has been assisted by MOC to reunite with her father and step mother. She was then transferred to a different school where she is doing Form 3 and expects to pass with flying colours. MOC continues to provide her with counselling and pays for her medical bills. Takunda confirmed that she is a changed person since the intervention of MOC through the Putting Children First, a CAFOD funded project into her life who helped her to shun drugs and to open a new page.
“My life has completely changed since I left drugs. I have conquered my past and I will never look back but embrace my future with hope, courtesy of MOC,” she said.
Takunda praised MOC for its enthusiasm in changing lives of children who may have lost hope resulting in them resorting to drug and substance abuse. She advised young people not to venture into drugs and substance abuse, warning them that this has future repercussions tantamount to psychological and physical health challenges.