After losing their father who was their pillar of strength, life became very difficult for Loveness and her siblings who wanted to further their education but could not due to lack of financial support. “As an orphan, l thought the only way to get out of poverty was getting married, l was hopeless because of what l was experiencing at that time.”
In 2017, Loveness’ friend Tendai who was a club facilitator at FHI 360 informed her about the DREAMS program and what she was doing to support other girls. “Due to my consistency attending the DREAMS program sessions, l soon realized that l was still too young to get married. My peers whom I met during the club sessions inspired me, they had big plans to support their families and the community.”
The program empowered and restored Loveness’ confidence. “I convinced myself that in my thorny conditions, l could still grow and be beautiful and be admired by the world. If not of the DREAMS program l would have done something l regretted. Dreams empowered me and gave me confidence.”
Loveness was trained on financial literacy and managed to form ISAL groups with her peers. She started a business of buying and selling fashion belts and handbags which has expanded to attract big orders. From attending workshops on intellectual development and with the money she saved from DREAMS workshop allowances, she enrolled for a degree in Development studies with the Catholic University of Zimbabwe on block release.
Loveness was later employed as a Club Facilitator under FHI 360 working with the Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW), supporting them on HIV prevention, financial literacy, and gender norms. Due to her determination and hard work, Loveness was trusted with supervisory responsibilities mentoring and supporting other Club Facilitators. As a DREAMS Ambassador, she generated heightened public awareness in her community about the DREAMS program including services such as HIV testing, STI screening, Family planning, HIV prevention and financial literacy. She also referred survivors of Gender Based Violence to service access points for support.
When an opportunity arose at PSI, Loveness confidently applied for the position of Brand Ambassador and was successful. “As Brand Ambassador l am mobilizing Adolescent girls and young women educating them about menstrual health and hygiene, family planning, HIV prevention services, and also making timely referrals to other DREAMS partners.” Loveness is now a role model to her peers inspiring young women to be resilient, she has proved to her community that through hard work and determination, you can realize your potential regardless of your background. “l played a big role in empowering young women in my community to achieve their vision, to stay in school, and to practice safer sex.”
“DREAMS has made a big contribution to my community by offering opportunities to adolescent girls and young women to receive high quality and stigma free Sexual and Reproductive Health information and services at the same time offering financial literacy and work readiness training to reduce vulnerability and dependency.”
Loveness is now supporting her family paying school fees for her two sisters. She has big plans, “my dream is to work for the United Nations as a development worker. I see myself travelling the world advocating for the empowerment of the girl child!”