Takunda Chesa – Zimbabwe

Takunda Chesa – Zimbabwe

Date: July 1, 2015
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My name is Takunda Chesa. I am the founding member of Voice of Children Care (VOCC). I founded this organisation in 2010 after the realisation that there were many challenges facing my community, especially orphans. Someone needed to listen to the voice of the disadvantaged, and respond to their needs. That person had to be me. Our organization helps a lot of orphans to attain an education, and participate in sporting activities. The group is composed of 30 members, whose ages range from 18 to 29. Of these 30 people, 19 are female and 11 male. The organization started off with 4 volunteers; students who had studied social work, IT and environmental health, but who were finding it difficult to secure formal employment.

The organisation is currently undertaking a garden project with people who do not have many resources. We are looking at the nutritional aspects, and the possibility of sustaining the livelihoods of orphans. We help orphans to identify self-sustaining projects in farming. We meet every day for 2 hours, from 2-4 pm in the Chegutu Council Hall for specific activities for orphans and vulnerable children. The group meets once a week on Saturdays for meetings at the same community hall where our office is. That was provided by the council. As a group, we have an action team which set out to meet environmental objectives; we are working to go green. We have members doing cleaning campaigns and veld fire fighting as well as maintaining trees in the council.

When the organisation started, we introduced indoor games like chess, art, drama and traditional dance. Soccer, volleyball & netball have now been incorporated as outdoor games. We have been facing a lot of challenges, but we try to manage these. At a personal level, I managed to buy the equipment for all these disciplines. We don’t have uniforms for games, so we hire uniforms for our beneficiaries if the resources are available. Another major challenge we have is that the orphans we work with do not have birth certificates. We have managed to get birth certificates for some children, but it’s difficult as some of us cannot identify the parents or their death records. Some do not have food, or are infected with HIV; we pay their health fees.

Since starting these projects, I have had the opportunity to learn about gender, especially GBV in households. GBV started when I was young, even in our house. The Gender Links workshops I had really emancipated me. At first, I just had plans for soccer and karate without the representation of women. After that, we have had more women in the CBO. We only had 50 orphans; 11 girls went for karate. After that, the need for girls to participate grew, and since then they have been incorporated more in the activities we hold. Actually, they are more talented than boys. The module on ICT by Gender Links gave us the opportunity to engage in Cyber Dialogues. This had me securing a desktop which we use to initiate IT lessons for our beneficiaries and members.

Council is my role model, since they introduced me to Gender Links initiatives where I had the opportunity to meet other youth like me. Tapiwa to be more specific. Their presentation was touching, and I was given a platform to participate in their activities. It was a learning curve for me, and I felt comfortable. I read about care work and other case studies that spurred me on, especially from Swaziland. We emulated examples from the manual. As a result I have become a role model in the community.

Through those sessions with Gender Links, I gained skills on care work just by reading the case studies in the Gender Links manual. I have sought to look at recruitment in the organisation with a different eye as I incorporate both sexes. Our work as VOCC could not have been made possible without the support of other actors like the council, National AIDS Council and Batsirayi Group who encourage behaviour change. It is this information that we are disseminating to the community.

The organisation’s future plan is to get an orphanage house where we can educate and cater for the needs of orphans; there are no orphanages in Chegutu. This will facilitate group discussions and other activities. I would like to thank Gender Links for sharing their experiences with us. We, VOCC, as the children of Chegutu have a voice that needs to be heard. We want to be heard, and expose our talents. We appreciate what Gender Links has done. We know what equality entails. We will continue to grow. If someone listens to our voices, we can be big even though we are disadvantaged.


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