Tag Archives: Rights of Girls in Zimbabwe

An End to an Intriguing 2015 Purposeful 2016 and Beyond!

Nyaradzo Nyari Mashayamombe
Nyaradzo Mashayamombe receives the Human Rights Defender Artist of the Year Award from Zim Rights for the song Cry which features Chiwoniso Maraire

The year 2015 has been truly eventful. One which we are willing to put behind and cross over to the new year, 2016. The past year hasn’t been so easy, many tests were thrown at me but i want to believe however, that i pulled through. Such is life, they say what doesnt kill you, makes you stronger.

A quick mention of the goodness of the Lord; Other than the challenges and privilege to continue fighting for the rights of the girls with Tag a Life International #TaLI, i had my own self to develop and personal projects to pursue. At work, we managed to train more than 300 Community Peer Educators, more than 500 young people and 76 Teachers in the Midlands Province and also assist survivors of rape to get services, as well as Celebrate our 5th Year Anniversary through introducing Child Rights Awards called TCHRAs.

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For leading such an initiative, God granted me the grace to be recognized by 3 institutions in the form of awards. Zimbabwe International Women’s Awards (ZIWA) honored me with the ‘Community Champion Title of the Year’ in September 2015. Then StarFM Zimbabwe went on to recognize me with the People’s Choice Humanitarian Award2015 on December the 4th.

Lastly but not least, Zimbabwe Human Rights awarded me the Human Rights Defender Artist of the Year Award for the Song ‘Cry’ which i sang to raise awareness on the rights of the Girls and Young Women especially around Sexual Abuse and Child Marriages in Zimbabwe, highlighting the fact that, the perpetrators against girls are often the people that we know. This song also features the late Chiwoniso Maraire.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6achBH-P3AU

Inspite of all the challenges that we faced this year, this has been to encourage me and my team, to strengthen us that no-matter how difficult things may be, the Lord who has commissioned for this work will see us through if we continue to put our trust in him.

TaLI also turned 5 this year and we made the next five year Strategic Plan for 2016 to 2020 after an evaluation of the work that we’d done over the years. To our partners HIVOS, US Embassy and PEPFAR, as well as Individual Friends of TaLI my work would not have been possible without you. To the dear sisters who held my hands and brothers who stood by me in my work through thick and thin, i say the journey has just begun, lets keep fighting for the Human Rights and Social Justice for Girls, Young Women and our entire communities.

For personal development and projects; i’m forever grateful for the strength God gave me to begin to pursue my Masters Degree; Master of Science in Development Studies Degree.

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The greatest happiness for me has been the recording and release of my Music Album #Zvatiri which is a celebration of my own life as a black woman, who was born in a world where natural beauty is distorted by the infiltration of skin bleaching and magazine model type of a woman’s beauty which causes a lot of damage to girls and women. The black women particularly are made to apologise for their beautiful pigment of their skin that is chocolate, the curves of their body which many pay millions for and the strength of their voices which often thunders the African Jazz melodies.

The talks about the African Beauty, Love, Gospel and social issues such as girls and women issues. http://www.financialgazette.co.zw/nyarie-mashayamombe-releases-third-album/ .  The Album has since received a lot of coverage including BBV Africa. https://www.newsday.co.zw/2015/12/19/nyaradzos-album-scoops-human-rights-award/ . It is also available on iTunes and CD Baby.

What this year has taught me is that one does not need the assurance of another person to pursue what one cares about or their purpose because, some people will doubt you, others will insinuate hateful things and challenge the core of what you care about if you are not careful, you may begin to self-doubt. Most importantly, there are those who really do not care about what you do, who can have bad intentions and shallow such that they can trash everything that you’ve ever worked or poured your sweat for, but in all this, we are strengthened by what we believe.

It is the liberating that we do what we do not for human beings glorification, but for the greatest call, they may seek to take advantage, but you will prevail! Here is to a conquering and wonderful, prosperous, healthy and happy 2016, whatever God blesses, no man can curse!

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ABRIDGED TOKWE MUKOSI REPORT ON THE STATUS OF GIRLS AND WOMEN – CHINGWIZI GIRLS

I have so much mixed feelings today. Yesterday i visited Chingwizi Holding Camp(My Long Story Coming up in a beat in a blog) where the flood victims of Tokwe Mukosi are housed. It was a FACT finding mission following the report that about 100 girls had been impregnated between the ages 10 and 12. Those in Zimbabwe who’ve been following this Chingwizi story know that over the last 3 or so days, the place has been ‘a war zone’, with the alleged fights between the residents of Chingwizi and the Police. Inspite of warnings for us not to go during this time as there have been these fights, we could not wait to stay home without knowing the status of girls at this camp. So we took off on Friday to reach the Camp on Saturday the 2nd of August. I will share my abridge version here with a special interest in the Girl Child and Women issues. I will hasten to say that, because of the tense of the situation, we could not engage many people to talk about anything in the camp. We managed to interview at the school and outside the camp and the following were our immediate findings:
1. The area is under so much tension, with fights between the police and the people. My worry is the security of girls and women. It seems the men are involved in the fights, but women and children often are at the receiving end of this violence. On our way we saw troops of hundreds of Police Men in the bushes close to the road that leads to Chingwizi. Today we got reports that there were further beatings of locals, the women and children are obviously emotionally tortured in all this.
2. Upon entering the camp there was such tension; in my write up i called it ‘tension thicker than a knife could cut’! Everyone was in their tents, no one loitering around, contrary to the usual busy roads at the camp on a good day. This was said to be because the previous day, the residents had allegedly burnt down 2 police cars. The reason being reported for this was that the police wanted to move the clinic to the area where the government wants people to settle, but the people are demanding their money before they move. A few minutes into the camp, men started coming out of their camps and started asking ‘Have you brought us the money’… We quickly left the camp as we feared any time the tensions would rise. We headed for Mlali Primary and Secondary Camp School.
3. The survival situation in the camp has affected the children, their parents and the community badly. The general conditions have caused the attitudes of the children towards education to be bad. The parents also because of the life in the camp are said to be no longer strict with their children to enforce discipline and performance at school. Actually there are reports that there is sometimes conflict between the teachers and the community because the teachers find it hard to instill discipline as the community does not want the teachers hard on their children, therefore the children end up being expelled from the schools. There is confirmed primary and high school drop out of children by students we interviewed. IT WAS DIFFICULT TO CONFIRM PREGNANCIES AMONGST THE AGE GROUPS WRITTEN IN THE REPORT, but the young people we interviewed who are in the community and schools confirmed that they had been hearing grapevine about some girls who have fallen pregnant, but they could neither provide names nor ages. One of the young man we interviewed alluded to the fact that there are high cases of Inter-generational relationships, where girls date older man, who are bound to demand sex in the relationships. The boy also said that because of idleness in the camp, sexual activities amongst young and old seem to be the only activity to occupy residents.
4. The young people highlighted their fear for disease outbreaks such as sexually related as all they see are issues of relationships in the camp. They also mentioned that they feel like their education year has been a wasted one sinse they were disturbed. One young person said that they are looking forward to repeating their form 3 again next year because they feel they are not ready to move and pass their O’levels.
5. Because of the situation in the camp, we could not talk to women as the situation was so much tense and guarded. Also residents do not trust anyone who is from the outside as they either suspect you to hinder their demand for money from the government, so they do not openly talk to anyone. Another thing is that they are sensitive to what people talk about, so it was not an easy task to carry. The teachers we spoke to at the school seemed to talk under instruction from their ministry, therefore there was not much useful information we got from them regarding child enrollment. The lady teacher who was said to be the spokes person declined the fact that children had dropped out of school. This was contrary to the information we got from the students we later interviewed who were very clear that many of their friends and pupils had dropped out of the schools before the End of Term Examinations and soon after the examinations. They alluded to the lack of discipline in the schools amongst the students. It was easy for us to read between the lines as one teacher told us that ‘if you need information you go to the Provincial Head, thats where we send all the information’, in a dismissing manner. It was very easy for me to tell that indeed maybe there is information ofcourse its being sent to the offices and as rightfully protocol would demand, they cannot share it, and it is protected for share at the appropriate time.
6. Food
We were told that everyone got equal rations according to the family members. The issue of ‘Sex-For-Food’ was said to have been reported in the first 2months.. Other commodities are distributed the same amongst the residents.
7. Education Facilities
The facilities are in the camps and are as would be expected, bad for the children.
TaLI RECOMENDATIONS:
We strongly feel the need for the government to address the situation at Chingwizi. The Government and the Residents of Chingwizi should amicably address their positions for the sack of the children. The lives of Children are being messed during this hard time. Girls are falling pregnant, are vulnerable to diseases, their education is affected, their lives are being lost, the children’s lives will never be the same again. There are more than 2 000 children in this area, thats a generation that deserves our move fast! We owe it to these children to give them a fair chance. We are concerned of the health of the women in this area. Something which the young men said which touched my heart was that; ‘When we were staying at our own house before the disaster, my father used to go drinking then come home later, mother never used to see him with other women, now the sad reality is that i see my father drinking beer, and do other things, i am concerned about my mother’, this is from the heart of a young man aged 17 who witnesses the abuse of his mother. We are appealing to the government to regard the children especially. May the children have their lives back. Surely there is somewhere we could get the money from our budgets for the sack of the children’. PROTECT THE CHILDREN, ADDRESS CHINGWIZI ISSUE NOW!!