Yokonia Mwale, Aged 24

December 20, 2006

My name is Yokonia Mwale, I’m 24, single and live in Chipata, Zambia. I am the second born out of three.Yoko

 
HIV/AIDS is the biggest problem in Chipata because it has brought a lot of implications in many sectors – teaching, nursing…. Almost everyone is affected or infected in our country leaving children with no hope.

 
Orphanages have become rampant in our district due to HIV/AIDS, because of this, levels of illiteracy have gone high, child abuse, in particular the use of child labour has increased.

 

It is suspected that my mother died as a result of HIV. When she died my schooling was affected. I was in Grade ten but I managed to overcome many obstacles and support myself through to Grade twelve.

 
I am now head of my household supporting several children while they are in education. I hope to be able to afford to put myself through nursing school when I no longer have to give financial support to my siblings.

 

When my mother died I was emotionally, physically and psychologically ill. I had no where to start from. After I completed Grade 12 in 2001 I involved myself in health activities e.g. peer education, care giver, TB treatment supporter, malaria prevention and control and now I am trained psychosocial counsellor working as a volunteer at Kapata clinic and New Start centre. This has helped me a lot to cope with life.

 
Zambia has a large population, but few people know their rights (about 55% according to a recent survey) more especially women and children most of them are blank about their rights. Advocacy has to be put in place for every person to enjoy the being.

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Zambian Youth Perspective

December 12, 2006

Henry Namwenda, Aged 18, Chipata

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Of the total population of Zambia, 70% constitute of the youths, defining Zambia’s population as young. There are are a number of issues affecting the youths were HIV is one of the big issues affecting the young people in Zambia.

Among other problems facing the youths of Zambia, higher rate of unemployment and gender violence (especially to those in the peri-urban or rural areas).

HIV, which is human immuno-deficiency virus, has destroyed and brought about a lot of pain and suffering among the life of young Zambian. It has increased the number of orphans and vulnerable children because their beloved and breadwinner died. It has left no hope in most lives of young Zambians because even when they go to school they face massive stigma and discrimination. They are some who still do not understand their purpose of life and driven by peers.

Of all, stigma has always been the biggest issue among the young Zambians affected by the pandemic. They fail to suit themselves in the society or community, they think they are outcast and can never mount to anything in life. The situation become worse when they see their friends with their beloved parents enjoying moments together, this is preferably because they are emotionally impaired and wished they would also share or have such moments.

Another problem facing the young people of Zambia today is youth unemployment. There are a number and masses of young people that have good qualification but do not have a job. There are just no jobs for them. It always pains them if they are heading a family or taking care of their fellow brothers and sisters. A lot of young people have blamed the government for the poor educational and employment policies despite having the ministries of education and labour. This disparity has increased the number of street vendors (who are mainly the youths) in the communities and towns. This is for the reason that they want to at list find something to get home so that they feed the ones they taking care of. It is so unfortunate because even the university graduates can still hover around the communities.

This however, results in young people participating in different forms of illicit behaviours, hence increasing promiscuity and preverences rate of HIV. This without any doubt is one of the major influences of the higher HIV infections rate in the country.

Gender violence is one of the major is hindrances to progressiveness among the youths of Zambia. From the survey I carried out with “youth development foundation” in chipata district of eastern province, the fact of being male or female has really brought problems in the community. For example, girls are known to be placed in the kitchen together with the mother while boy goes to play and mingle with friends. Boys have equally expressed them being violated because girls favored a lot. Take for example the university of Zambia, 30% of the students enrolled have to be women and the remaining 70% boys again have to compete with the girls.

Gender violence has brought a lot of disparities, as it does not look at race or colour. Child abuse has come in, which even involves child sexual abuse.

All these problems among the young people have resulted into retardation in the development of the nation as it they constitute the 70% of the total population of Zambia. There is therefore need to look at how these issues can be addressed in the communities

 

Pose a question for Henry to respond to on youth, HIV/AIDS, Zambia or anything else…..