Like many young people growing up in Zimbabwe today, Linda Kuterera (not her real name) was forced to drop out of school because her mother could no longer afford the spiraling school fees.
Soon after she stopped going to school, Linda’s mother fell sick and had to be hospitalized.
“They told me to pay for my mother’s medication, and being the eldest in the family the responsibility fell on me. I hate what I am doing but I am forced to sleep with men so that I can raise money to pay for the hospital bills,” said Linda choking back tears.
Poverty has left many young girls and women with little choice but to sell their bodies in order to cope with the economic struggles and food shortages.
According to the Zimbabwe 2008 National Youth Shadow report, girls as young as 12 are being forced to sell their bodies to raise money for sustenance or just to get a day’s meals. Unfortunately, young Zimbabweans are often likely to be left out of HIV and AIDS programmes, adds report.
The report, which seeks to measure the country’s progress on the 2001 UNGASS Declaration on HIV and AIDS states that young people continue to be overlooked in the implementation of programmes. Continue reading