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Orant's Kasese Youth Club
Rose Phiri's Story
What happens when we give youth the tools to excel? The knowledge to make informed decisions about their health? The empowerment to accomplish their dreams? Anyamata ndi atsikana otsogola: enlightened boys and girls.
In 2017, Orant worked with the Girls Empowerment Network in Malawi to establish the Kasese Youth Club. The goal? To support young people. To lessen youth rates of school dropouts, teenage pregnancies, and mortality due to untreated STDS.
Club member Rose Phiri says, “When I started attending Kasese Youth Club, my mind was totally transformed.”
Every Tuesday and Friday, the Kasese Youth Club meets on Orant’s campus. They participate in talks and conversations, plus games such as Bawo and Dice. All youth ages 12 and older are encouraged to attend. The meetings are led by two of Orant’s Patient Care Attendants (PCAs) and one of Orant’s support staff from the government sector.
Chinsinsi Levison, PCA and Kasese Youth Club Chairperson, says, “We saw that a lot of young people are shy. They don’t open up about critical issues such as sexual harrassment and sexually transmitted infections. As such, they die in silence. And so, we aim to create a conducive and friendly environment. Here, they can open up and learn from each other. They can discuss issues that they may not be comfortable discussing with their parents.”
Meetings cover topics on:
- Everyday life skills
- Sexual reproductive health
- Importance of education
- Dangers of early marriages and teenage pregnancies
- How and where to report sexual harassment cases
- Common diseases and risks of exposure
For Rose, Kasese Youth Club inspired a return to school.
“I got pregnant when I was only 19 years old,” Rose says. “At that time, I had just written my Primary School Leaving Exams. After giving birth, the thought of going back to school never crossed my mind. I thought I was too old. I was afraid of becoming a laughing stock. The only future I imagined for myself was marriage. I stopped dreaming.”
At Kasese Youth Club, Rose found support, encouragement, and the chance to dream again.
“I plan to work hard in school and go to college,” she says, unable to stop smiling. “I want to become a lawyer. I am so sure that with hard work, this will come to pass.”
Chinsinsi aims for the club to support students in more ways than just encouragement. “We plan to open a vegetable garden,” she says, “and use the proceeds to send many girls back to school.”
What happens when we give youth the tools to excel? They reach their full potential.
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