With SAfAIDS, I am walking a unique path: Clemence Mutenheri- Makomba High school

I come from a disjointed family where my brothers chose their own path of life which l never agreed on. They decided to drop out of school and resort to drugs and other informal businesses. My parents appear to have given up on them already. That is when l realised the importance of parents’ commitment to their children and good linkages with their children’s teachers.

After l joined the SAfAIDS FreshCom programme, l made a conscious decision not to follow my brothers’ footsteps. With SAfAIDS ‘Rights in your pocket’ booklet, I realised that rights come with responsibilities. I prioritised my right to education and worked towards my goal of academic excellence.

Through the self-reflective methodologies of the Young4Real programme I discovered that I had attributes of an attention seeker and I transformed those attributes into good use. I was never scared to volunteer to share or present on different platforms be it at church, school or any other gatherings. I regularly do presentations on assembly points covering various topics on peer pressure, domestic violence, managing relationships etc. We usually convey the messages through dramatizing, poetry and presentations. During sports times, we are given platforms to disseminate Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) messages to our peers.

I now believe in imparting Sexual Reproductive Health information not only to students, but to their parents as well. One on one sessions with other peers made me realise the direct influence of a child’s behaviour because of his/her family background. From sharing our experiences, it was apparent that Domestic violence within families has an effect on children, and in most instances parents seem oblivious.

My determination led me do engage our Guidance and Counselling teacher who later convinced the headmaster that l be given a platform to talk to parents during the School Development Committee (SDC) meeting that involved parents and teachers as a way of raising awareness about the SRHR issues that were being experienced by their children. Before my presentation I told myself that ‘’If this is not the stem of the problem we shall try other ways’’ and made a superb presentation that enabled the parents to realize the importance of communicating with their children about SRH issues.

I am glad to realise that parents also appreciate the programme and they are willing to change for the sake of their children. SAfAIDS FreshCom programme has transformed my personality and the way I articulate issues on a daily basis. I am on a different and secure path of life when compared to others, and my wish is for them to learn from me too!

‘’Be Young4Real and Make the Right choices!’’