Social clubs and Innovation: Path to reduce ‘Drug & Substance’ abuse among youth
Zimbabwe is one of the countries in Southern Africa where youth are succumbing to drugs and substance abuse at alarming levels.
“We cannot afford to lose more youths to drugs in our society. They need to engage in different projects so that they will focus on productive things rather than staying high”
This was said in an interview by one of the residents of Kambuzuma, Mrs Genti. She further said that it is very heartbreaking to see young people destroying their careers and future because of drug and substance abuse.
Having different names like mutoriro, guka, crystal myth, dombo, and broncleer syrup these drugs are believed to have caused more harm than good. This has led many organizations, institutions, and communities to find alternative solutions to end drug and substance abuse. Some of the solutions include the introduction of social clubs and innovative hubs that focus on community talks and productivity.
One who was asked to comment said, “Stress and poverty have killed us, we do not have jobs and the best escapism are drugs to reduce all the pressure.“
“Ndinoswera hangu ndakaSticker. Zvekunze or kurwadza kweupenyu totozvinzwa nemi masistran (I spend the day intoxicated my sister, I do not even know what goes on in the world, let alone feel the pain),” said another.
Despite facing the challenges of poverty and stress, several young people in Kambuzuma are turning their lives around through community projects. By participating in car wash initiatives, clean-up campaigns, and water delivery services, they are not only earning a living but also gaining valuable skills and making a positive impact on their community. These projects offer them a sense of purpose, hope, and the opportunity to build a brighter future for themselves and their neighbors.
Julo one of the youth members who was interviewed said, “We, the youth, are bursting with ideas and skills. We just need the support to turn our visions into reality. If we could partner with leaders and organizations, we can co-create projects that not only address our need for income but also build a stronger, more vibrant community for everyone. That is the only way that can change our fate.“
Meanwhile, different facilities like Mubatirapamwe have also been partnering with churches and community members in areas like Warren Park, Mufakose, and Kuwadzana amongst other communities for open, social talks against drugs and substance abuse. Engaging young girls and boys, these sessions empowered them to make informed choices. Rehabilitation is also proving to be a much needed essential in the fight against drug and substance abuse.
Melissa, a student from one of the local university said, “Meeting with different students rids the mind of bad habits. Students should focus on solving contemporary societal challenges through innovative ideas that can be induced through social clubs like debates, quizzes, and dialogue. We are the future, so let’s fight drugs.“
Some of the organisations in Zimbabwe such as SAYWHAT and Shamwari ye Mwanasikana have been instrumental in the fight against drug and substance abuse.