“My life was touched and changed through DREAMS.”
22-year-old Yvonne Tsumbirani is a DREAMS SMART Girls Siyakha Champion from Mutare a U.S President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID Zimbabwe) supported district.
Due to my being from the village and having partial education with city life I grew up as the entitled,” UNPOPULAR VILLAGE GIRL”. Life without my mother has never been an easy journey for me. I was stigmatized and segregated by my peers, making me an ardent novel reader at a tender age.
However, we have to focus on what gives us peace of mind and not on what consistently takes it away. Every encounter of my life proved to be a blessing in disguise. In May 2022, I was screened, and I become eligible for the DREAMS SMART girl’s project. I received clinical services which consist of HIV testing and STI screening. I participated in the DREAMS the primary package which comprises HIV Prevention, Gender Norms and Financial Literacy.
Indeed, one thing leads to another; before you know it, it is your story. Due to my high level of participation, my club mentor discovered the potential within me and I was elevated to being a Siyakha Champion. My role as a Siyakha champion is to offer life skills and job preparation, soft skills such as social asset building, and how to compose CVs to prepare adolescent girls for what life is like in the workplace. I also provide them with financial literacy to empower them to become financially independent.
Maya Angelou said, “The greatest legacy that we can leave is not how many houses have we built or how many cars have we bought, but it’s how many people’s lives have we touched and changed”. It was a dream that came true for me through the DREAMS SMART GIRLS project as it came to my realization that the role of DREAMS is to transform an individual first before the individual advocates to transform and elevate others. I also was transformed and am still a work in progress. As a debut author of the book “Walks of Life”, which was published in October 2021 I foresaw my dream coming true to be able to convey a message of hope, to inspire people, particularly the girl child, to be resilient, focused and unwavering during turbulent times through writing. Right now, I adamantly admit that I can see the future I had envisioned to be a doctorate holder in a few years to come becoming a reality. On another note, I can proudly say that I am pregnant with my second book, ‘ Rail of Hope’, which is soon to be published.
Today, as DREAMS SMART girls beneficially, I stand to empower and be empowered too along the journey. I have never imagined myself or my life as a motivation but what one needs in life is to be at a place where you are not defined by your background but by your talents and potential. My takeaway points home is that may every young girl or woman out there refuses to succumb to the pressures of life and fight all the odds until she reaches the top because the life that is waiting for her is much more attractive than the things that will try to lure her now into giving up.