By Elizabeth Ndhlovu-Dumbreni
SAfAIDS Changing The River’s Flow for Young People (CTRF4YP) programme has been helping shape and transform young people’s lives for the better. One such case is that of Primrose Munetsi (not her real name), an adolescent who, through the intervention of the CTRF4YP youth champions, was able to quit smoking marijuana and begin to transform her life by making the most of her time.
Silhouette of a young person smoking marijuana (Pic: capitalcampus.com)
Munetsi says that when the CTRF4YP programme was introduced in Chiredzi two years ago it took the programme champions a long time to convince her to join the club, as she was deeply immersed in drugs. Though drugs are usually associated with boys and men, Munetsi says she some times joined other idle young girls and boys to pester them for a smoke. This led to some of the girls in her circle indulging in risky sexual behaviours with older men. The drug had taken control over their lives.
“One day, an old friend called Tabonga paid me a visit and started talking about the CTRFYP programme. We talked for a long time until I fully understood that taking drugs is dangerous for my health and my life. After that, I reflected on my ways and realised that I was destined for doom. That‘s when I made a turn around and decided to quit drugs. I now spend my time wisely and productively, helping my parents sell straw mats for a living. The programme really has transformed my life.” she said.
The Herald, on 14th August 2014, reported that as many as 65% of Zimbabwe’s youths suffer from drug-induced mental issues. Drug abuse is now a regional and global problem that knows no geographical boundaries; the 2014 World Drug Report ranked neighbouring Zambia as the world’s third largest marijuana-smoking country by population, (lusakavoice.com), meaning that programmes like the CTRF4YP, as well as action at regional level are vital to ensure the health of our youth.