MACHEKE — Mangwende Youth Centre under Murewa Rural District Council (MRDC) is playing a pivotal role in providing a safe and healthy alternative for hundreds of youths in the resettlement areas of Macheke.
By Our Staff
The centre, which opened its doors in November last year, caters for the needs of youths by empowering them with information, life skills and knowledge.
“We came up with this centre after we realised that the area was recording high incidences of early marriages, teen pregnancies and school dropouts,” said MRDC youth and gender officer Winnet Chitauro.
The youth centre was built with support from the National Aids Council (NAC), MRDC, Ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment and the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
“After realising that youth in this area had nothing to occupy them with, we established this centre through a multi-sectorial approach that involved government and other stakeholders,” Chitauro said.
The youth centre, which is housed at a farm house, caters for youth aged between 10 and 24 years.
“We take youth who hang out in the community who may wish to explore a more positive lifestyle and empower them with information, life skills and knowledge,” she said.
“Besides empowering them with information, life skills and knowledge, we also have indoor games like pool and darts.”
The centre, which is 21km from Macheke, boasts of a computer lab, library, counselling, and indoor games facilities.
“Our drawback is that we do not have electricity. We use a generator and at the moment, it is not functioning. We have a challenge when it comes to connecting the computers,” she said.
Fifteen-year-old Shyleen Siga-uke, who was in the library, said although she had not frequenting the centre since its inception, she believes it will go a long way in imparting knowledge and life skills.
“It is my second time to come to this place, but I think it will help us a lot. I have learnt that Aids is a dangerous disease and I now know how it is spread after reading some books here,” she said.
However, she said she was yet to learn how to use a computer.
“I have never used a computer and I hope when we get electricity I will have the chance to use one,” said Shyleen.
District Aids coordinator for Murewa, Letwin Chanakira, said although the youth centre was in its infancy stages, she was optimistic that it would play a key role in reducing early marriages, teen pregnancies and girl child school dropouts in the area.
“It is one of our HIV intervention activities under the adolescent sexual and reproductive health programme in Murewa and we hope it will bring the desired results,” she said.
NAC donated four computers, while several stakeholders that include TelOne, pledged to connect internet services at the centre. Zesa also pledged to bring electricity.
However, the centre is appealing for furniture, library books and indoor games equipment.