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Ingidzai Chawasarirai’s story: “Sista2Sista mentorship club gave me a second chance in life”

Ingidzai Chawasarira (24) became a mother at the age of 14 after dropping out of school.

‘I gave birth to my first born in 2010 when I was 14 after dropping out of school. I was shy to associate with my age mates and lived in isolation for two years,” recalls Ingidzai. “It is a difficult thing to carry a baby on your back when you are also a child; it was very difficult experience for me but there was nothing I could do to turn back the clock.”

In 2012 Ingidzai joined the Sista2Sista club. Her mentor Apollonia Manyudzo helped Ingidzai build her self-esteem again and move out of isolation.

“She encouraged me to return to school and finish my studies. The S2S information empowered me to go to school knowing that I was not different from others. I then completed my ordinary level in 2014 and came out with flying colors,” says ingidzai.

“I then enrolled at Chaminuka Technical & Vocational Training Center and trained in hotel management and catering; I had never imagined that after falling pregnant my life would change for the better as it has now.”

There are many girls in Zimbabwe like Ingidzai who have had their lives touched by the Sista2Sista programme. Launched in 2013, the Sista2Sista programme offers a safe place where adolescent girls can speak with mentors and each other about their problems.  Girls in the club learn about sexual and reproductive health and rights, financial literacy, and how to navigate difficult social situations, including coercive relationships. The Sista2Sista mentors deliberately mobilise vulnerable girls aged between 10 and 24 years within their communities and encourage them to join the club.

An assessment is done to determine if one qualifies to join. In addition to the mentorship,  Ingidzai says the information she received from the programme has significantly empowered her.  Today Ingidzai runs a cooking club and a goat project in her community. - Bertha Shoko with additional reporting from Zichire