All of us have stories to tell. Some are told, but
most are hidden in the crevices of our hearts.
When we tell our stories we build hope; we
rekindle even our own spirits and challenge the
riverâ€™s flow to change. When we keep our stories,
eventually they die with us and the riverâ€™s flow
remains the same. In telling our stories, we have
hope that weâ€“ and those around usâ€“ will learn from
them and make the world better. All our stories matter.
In Zimbabwe, as elsewhere, boys and girls are taught from
early childhood how they are expected to behave, who makes
decisions and that men have the final say. This has led to unequal
gender roles and responsibilities. Unequal gender roles increase young women and
girlsâ€™ risk of contracting and spreading HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases
through early sexual activity and unplanned pregnancy, multiple sex partners, male
sexual dominance, older men with younger partners and gender-based violence, or GBV.
The SAfAIDS Changing the Riverâ€™s Flow for Young People (CTRF4YP) programme is
about building more equal relationships and reducing the rigidity of current gender
norms that mean girls grow up wanting to be nurses while men want to be doctors or
This magazine is a collection of stories written by young people whose lives have been
transformed through the first year of this SAfAIDS initiative, which has begun in four
districts in Zimbabwe.
Their voices take us through real-life stories of gender transformation