Loveness’s Story – Defied abuse: Now an agent of change for Adolescent Girls and Young Women.
Meet 26-year-old Loveness from Chipinge, a USAID/PEPFAR supported district who through her determination and resilience, has become a role model and an inspiration to other girls and young women in her community as a DREAMS mentor.
Loveness completed her Advanced Level Studies in 2014, which she passed with flying colors and had a dream of continuing with her education. Having lost her father and left with her mother and two siblings, Loveness had to suffer physical and emotional abuse from her late father’s brother who always told her to forget about education and consider getting married. The abuse from her uncle did not stop until in 2017 when a friend who was a DREAMS club facilitator encouraged her to join the DREAMS initiative.
Upon joining DREAMS, Loveness received Gender Based Violence (GBV) and HIV prevention services from FHI360 and in 2018 she was referred to FACT Zimbabwe for community apprenticeship training in hair dressing and legal services which were offered by CATCH.
“After joining the DREAMS initiative, my life changed and I feel empowered and in control of my health choices. The legal support I got from FACT helped me and my guardian understand the effects of getting married young.
The hair dressing skills I received empowered me to make use of my own hands and fend for myself and support my family.”- Loveness
In 2018, she applied for the position of Brand Ambassador at Population Services International and was successful. Her role is to mentor and educate Adolescent Girls and Young Women on menstrual health and hygiene, family planning, HIV and GBV prevention.
Loveness facilitating a group session with young women during a community outreach in Chipinge
Through savings from the allowances, she received from her work in DREAMS and hair dressing jobs, Loveness is funding her degree studies in Development Studies with the Catholic University of Zimbabwe and is also paying school fees for her two sisters.