“I really do not know what to say, thanks to Youth Ventures Initiatives (YOVI)!” said Marion lately when we talked with her at Mukuru slums where she is working as a peer counselor with YOVI. She went on, ” I really love what i do as a peer counselor. I enable people change their behavior and the training by Youth Ventures Initiatives has changed me too! I would be lost by now!”, says Marion. Marion has been counseling adolescents in schools and has come across some abusing drugs. After counseling them they have changed and have stopped abusing drugs. She says that she has counselled them about the dangers of drug abuse. Marion sees the link between drug abuse and HIV and that’s why she is keen that adolescents stop abusing drugs.
Young women and men come to her for counseling too. She counsels young women out of schools to avoid risky behavior and on use of family planning. Recently she encountered a case of a young woman who came to her after falling pregnant. She referred her to the health facility for check up and further counseling. An adult man also came to her lately for help. He reported to her to be stressed. Marion was able to use counseling skills and asked him the right question.
The conversation went this way: Marion asked him: “what do you think is the problem?” The man said that he had bad company that was pushing him to abuse alcohol. Marion counselled him to avoid the bad company. Also counseled him to also try porridge every morning as it is readily available in the streets in the community. The man took this advice, went on porridge, avoided bad company and when Marion met him after two weeks he had stopped taking alcohol. Marion says he is proud of what she does and is helping many people. She says many people in the community now know what she does and readily come to her. Some bring their adolescent children while others bring their issues to her. She says, “I do not want this program by YOVI to come to an end! I enjoy what I do. I have become a doctor of some kind in the community!” Marion also volunteers at Mukuru Ruben Health facility where she counsels young people especially young women and girls who turn up for treatment at the facility.