Over the years the traditional way of raising a child was mainly to ensure that their physical needs were met. However, mental and emotional needs were overlooked and a child just learnt to get by within whatever environment they found themselves in – whether conducive or unconducive. Now this child becomes an adult and has their own family, and thus raise their children in the same way they were raised. These became social and cultural norms, unless one learns differently. In the end the society as a whole is affected as a result of those missing crucial needs. It is through this backdrop that Frederick Douglass coined the phrase “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Which has been re-phrased to, “It is easier to build a child than to repair an adult.”
As MMPZ we seek to address these and other psychosocial needs of children and youths who are living with HIV. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) treatment is very crucial in inhibiting the virus from multiplying, but on its own without mental and emotional nurturing it is not enough. ART covers the physical need of the body but the individual taking that medication has to be mentally and emotionally supported so that they do not default. Thus MMPZ compliments the Government’s provision of ART treatment by providing psychosocial support. This was after the realisation that everything about the child or youth’s life becomes centred on their health issue. Their self-esteem, how they relate with others, dating/marriage, future plans etc. can become a blur. Hence as MMPZ we advocate that every child or young person living with HIV should live life to the fullest like any other child or young person in Zimbabwe. We believe they can still achieve their dreams and encourage them to dream.
Who We Are
Million Memory Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ) is a private voluntary organisation (PVO) which was first registered as a trust in 2004 then upgraded to a PVO in 2017. The organisation offers psychological support services to children and adolescents living with HIV/AIDS. It is located at the Mpilo Centre of Excellence in Mzilikazi, where it is easy to have access and direct contact with ART beneficiaries registered with the facility of which Mpilo is the largest referral Hospital in Matabeleland. MMPZ also has a 1,5h youth centre – challenge course in Nkulumane 12 where most of the experiential learning games and activities take place for different groups within the community. The youth centre is still an ongoing development as we continue to seek funding. MMPZ’s target groups are children and youths from 0- 24 years old, peers, siblings, parents, community and institutions, with over 5 000 people per year accessing our services. MMPZ is based in Bulawayo and covers six districts namely Nkulumane, Magwegwe, Emakhandeni, Luveve, Bulawayo North and South (as named by the National AIDS Council – NAC and the City Council), it is yet to expand to other districts. To create a supportive and responsive environment, MMPZ also works with youths in schools, youths out of schools and youths in churches. It also targets community structures and decision makers to ensure that the psychosocial and SRHR needs of young people are met. MMPZ uses the four pronged approach whereby it targets the individual, his/her relationships, community and institutions thus ensuring a holistic psychosocial support package is achieved.
To have every child and young person living with HIV/AIDS, to live life to the fullest like any other child and young person in Zimbabwe. Creating ‘Ahaa’ experiences that will generate ? million memories!
To contribute to the development of children and young people living with HIV/AIDS through advocating for the development of appropriate policies and practices.
- Memory Work – a narrative therapy where the children and youths are helped to recognise and be inspired by the times they excelled, survived, won and were happy and thereby becoming winners in their own way.
- Hero Book– it’s a tool that creates a safe psychological environment for children and youths to explore and reflect on their lives. The topics covered help them discover the hero within themselves thus giving them hope and excitement for the future.
- Tree of Life– is a tool that consists of the skills, hopes, dreams, and abilities of each participant and the stories behind each of these.
- Active Citizen Club– these are support groups for children and youths living with HIV/AIDS as they will be discussing issues pertaining their lives.
- Experiential Training– where more practical games and activities are done practically in relation to life and the challenges that they face as youths and how they are able to help each other through tough times.
- Sexual Reproductive Health Rights– discussing issues related to their sexual health with learners in schools and youths.
- Parenting Sessions– support groups of parents and caregivers so that they are equipped with knowledge and skills on how to support children and young people on HIV treatment, adherence, disclosure, sexual reproductive health, hygiene and other support systems.
- Psycho-social Support Services– discussions involving the relationship of children, youths and people surrounding them so as to create an environment that promotes the psychological and social well-being of the individual.
- Livelihoods Projects– youths running agricultural projects on a small scale range so as to gain knowledge, skills and overall experience of managing a project.
- Counselling Sessions– whereby youths with challenges or wanting guidance have a one on one session with the counsellor.
- Defaulter Tracing– returning back into the system the youths that would have defaulted on their medication.
- Buddy System– a peer facilitator is assigned to a youth who is new to the ART treatment and takes them through the journey of adhering to their medication and also knowing that they are not alone.
All this has been made possible through the support of our partners TDHS, Ministry Of Health and Child Care, NAC, SAFAIDS, SAT, REPSSI, OXFAM, CRS, MSF
Director: J Mafara +263 781 706 087 / 0292-201899 WEBSITE: mmpztrust.org EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org FACEBOOK: Million Memory Project Zimbabwe
Source: Million Memory Project Zimbabwe