Trials and Tribulations of Girl Rights Defender in Zimbabwe

In 1999  I launched a girls` empowerment  club at a high school in Chitungwiza. I started off with a group of ten students in my Advanced level class. In the girls I saw myself and each story of forced marriage ,rape ,drop out of school repeated my personal story that kept haunting me if I did not act. It was a tough journey  to get to the launch day because we spent a lot more time convincing male teachers and a male school head that this had to be done for gender equality and to afford girls a platform and a space that is safer and respectful to speak out because this was not the case in class. When we reached to this stage ,everyone felt we had to move on fast and establish some chapters all over the country since many girls empowerment clubs were sprouting round the country .The club concept spread like veld fire and every girl came out to join our empowerment programs. On 21 March 1999 Girl Child Network was launched with a sole purpose of supporting the empowerment of girls and ensuring that girls are protected from abuse and they are fully supported to school.

In June 2000 we had fifty girls clubs and we embarked on a seventeen day March against sexual abuse of girls in the home, school and community. We were 500 of us and spent every other day walking and making stopovers in villages that were so closed one would think any girl lived there. Girls were domesticated and many lived like sex slaves and the most painful stories we encountered on this march were cases of thousands of girls who failed to come out and join us at some growth points where we performed some dramas because they were married especially in some apostolic churches. After walking through villages and farming communities and urging girls to come out ,we got an overwhelming response because by the end of the march at least over 2000 cases of rape came out. The silence was broken and we had a good sense that girls lives were at risk. We listened to a chilling story of a girl raped at six months by her father because he was desperate for HIV and AIDS cure.