By Stephen Ephraem
A wooden religious structure exists in a newly developed location. The landscape is of red soil and high terrain. A little distance from the religious structure is a strip of mountains which tell a story of horrible occurrences of landslides.
The people moving up and down as well as children playing in the streets of the residential area seem not to be worried about the portrait of the landslides. Among the souls doing their daily chores is a group of young women who are holding a meeting at the religious structure.
The area is none other than Ngangu extension, the high density suburb of Chimanimani. The area was severely damaged by Tropical Cyclone Idai in March 2019 which hit the district and its neighbour, Chipinge.
The group of young mothers named Rise and Shine comprises of those who volunteered to get trained by a non-profit organisation, Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI) on community resilience.
REPSSI whose motto is Love, Care and Protection aims at ensuring that all children have access to stable care and protection through quality psycho-social support. Such child focused initiatives sees the organisation support community groups like Rise and Shine to promote the well being for all children.
When this writer descended onto Ngangu extension during a media tour, Rise and Shine club members gave testimonies of how REPSSI has empowered them with knowledge on sexual reproductive health which helps to maintain strong families for the benefit of the child.
“We know our rights that sex should not be imposed on a woman. Partners should discuss sex than what used to happen in past that a man dominates on sexual matters. Also we learnt how to help adolescents to overcome natural developments which happen to their bodies,” said one member.
“REPSSI taught young mothers not to wait for the man to bring money in the home. We started to do savings as a club. This has helped us to very much during the Covid 19 lockdown since we had income to spend when travel was restricted,” said another member.
Interestingly, the young mothers are advocating for a men’s forum.
“My husband is supporting me very much but I feel it will benefit us more if the men have their own forum similar to ours so that the knowledge which is being acquired by us also benefits our spouses,” a member added.
Chimanimani area was once invaded by artisanal miners during a gold rush which took place in the previous years. This saw young girls becoming prey to sexual predators during that time. The knowledge imparted to young children through REPSSI programs is expected to address the sexual ills that used to take place in Chimanimani