“After you have been empowered, go out there and become deacons, those sent to serve.” These were the closing remarks of Rev. Ashton Mughozi SJ, the youth delegate of the Southern Africa Province in Zimbabwe, during the commissioning mass for 30 young people after undergoing 5 day’s training for AHAPPY generation. The training started on 25th April and closed on the 29th April 2022. This AHAPPY Training has been in plan since 2018. But due to unavoidable circumstances in Zimbabwe, the exercise was postponed many times. Rev. deacon Ashton Sj was grateful to AJAN “for not giving up on us.”
The training was a success, being the first of its kind to bring together the young people from different learning institutions. All of them were chosen in their various capacities as students’ leaders in the youth organizations and youth Clubs in the different institutions they represent. Institutions represented by participants included; St. Rupert, Music Crossroads Zimbabwe, Shinsirirasi Youth ministry, University of Zimbabwe (Young Catholic Students), The Catholic University of Zimbabwe, Belvedere Technical College, Emmanuel High School, Visitation Makumbi High School, Mabelreigns High School, Katama College and St. Dominic Girls High School.
Besides the youth students, 4 patrons from a number of institutions accompanied the young people. Patrons were professionals taking various disciplines. They included teachers, volunteers, counselors and nurses. All of them expressed that the sessions were very helpful and that they were challenged to reach out to more students whom they accompany in the schools.
Fr. Ismael Matambura SJ, director of AJAN who was part of the training team together with Pascalia Sergon, called upon the young people to use their high-level creativity demonstrated during their training session to the advantge of their development and for the good of all. Deacon Ashton in his homily during mass, asked them “to take the gospel back to the other youth.”
Feedback from trainees:
“We have to avoid stigma against others; for us to be sources of hope we really need to reduce stigma and promote counselling and wellness; in my school, there is no HIV program, I plan to go back, institute a youth program start teaching others how to take care of ourselves and the value of abstinence from sex”
“The workshop was quite enlightening in terms of mental and spiritual wellness. I learnt that I should be a leader that inspire others, a leader who does the right thing not who just do things right. With the assistance of AHAPPY Manual, I will be educating my peers, looking forward to being a source of hope for others and being a generation of change.”
“I got to learn more about HIV & AIDS, how to cope and understand people living with HIV & AIDS and reduce stigma. I also learned and benefitted form the leadership skills which I will use during my leadership tenure in the university. Currently there is no “club youth against AIDS” in our institution, I was thinking of going to talk to our officials at Catholic University of Zimbabwe on implementing it. But for the moment as the president of the youth in the university I am thinking of organizing an event at the university where I will share what I have learnt in this workshop so that they get to understand and know more about HIV & AIDS.”
“To be honest, the training was really beneficial. I am usually a shy person; I feel I have the courage to face my peers.”
For Fr. Matambura, AJAN believes that unity, partnership are strong weapons for anyone who wants to make change. This training, he added was also to strengthen AJAN partnerships with IYD Zimbabwe for more impact in the lives of the peoples in this part of the continent, especially the youth.
Capacity Building, AJAN