Stories from the youth

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I am Hope and I’m fifteen years old. I wake up around three or four and I study a bit and then I do the house chores like I wash the plates. After washing the plates I make sure that my uniform is clean then I go to take my bath, I dress up and then I make sure all my books are in order. I carry my books and my breakfast all together and then I leave for school. That is maybe at seven. I’m in grade eleven. My favourite subjects are civic education and English.

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I like playing football with my older brother. He always invites me when he starts playing football. I’m very good at poetry. And also I dance. I live in Kaoma, Zambia. I stay with my two sisters and their children. On weekends I always visit my friend who stays a bit far from here. After that I go for church.

“If someone is going through a gender based violence. We like investigate the issue and tell the person where to go and what to do.”Isaac, 18

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They say girls you should be at home washing plates, taking care of your young ones, cooking nshima, doing also those things. But that was back then, not now. The things change, thing are changing. I’ve been in Barefeet for three years. One of the skills that I’ve acquired from Barefeet is the public speaking skill. We went to sensitize that every child has the right to education. Girl or boy, but the thing is that we are children all of us, we need to be educated.

At school they don’t teach everything. Barefeet Children’s council is a group of young activists who work together and they act as advocates. We advocate on issues that affect our fellow youth in our communities. We always meet on Saturdays and Sundays.

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I’m very proud being a Barefeet member. We have learned about human rights, self-esteem, gender based violence, child’s rights, how to condomize, family planning. You just have to know that you have value either you are rich, poor, what’s this you are disabled, you have a disability. You have all the rights to be in every group that you wish and you want to be.

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Teenage pregnancies cause problems in a sense that us girls we will start feeling shy like “I’m pregnant at very early age so my friends will actually be laughing at me”. Then the girl ends up dropping school. Then that will affect her future. Us, the Barefeet guys, we know our rights. And no one can ever deprive us of our rights. We are now pumped with much knowledge that we can even teach others.

“The main point of us being educated is for development and to reduce the number of poverty. What I’m doing is really helping.”Deborah, 14