Youth Centres in a battle against HIV & AIDS

Don Bosco Youth Centre allocated in Lilongwe’s area 23 is one of the youth centres which are playing a vital role in HIV and AIDS fight.

The youth centre provides social and sporting activities which keep youths busy instead of engaging themselves in some malpractices that may lead them to contract HIV a virus that causes AIDS.

Mark Phiri, coordinator of Don Bosco Youth Centre speaking in an interview with Mana on 19 January, 2017 said, an idle mind is devils workshop the youth centres keep young people busy after doing their school work by making them take part in different sporting activities and other clubs depending on their talents.

These activities help young people to prevent doing some malpractices such as drug and substance abuse which can drive them to unprotected sexual practices that put youths on a risk of getting HIV and AIDS, Phiri explained.

Phiri also explained to Mana that the youth centre provides civic education through seminars to teach young people on the dangers of HIV and AIDS and ways of preventing the disease. The centre accommodates 5000 youths per week from different areas within Lilongwe city.

Commenting on the source of funding, the coordinator said well wishers are the only sources of funding who finance activities of the centre we get funds from well wishers that are individuals and organisations from within the country and outside the country, the funds assist us to buy youth centre facilities such as sports equipments and teaching materials, he said.

However, Phiri disclosed that the youth centre is facing some challenges to reach many young people. Lack of parental involvement in encouraging their children to participate in different youth centre activities is one of the challenges, as a result, young people do engage themselves in some malpractices.

Inadequate funding is also another challenge which the youth centre is facing since it accommodates many young people and it uses more money than g income it generates.

He then urged the government to support youth centres. Government should assist youth centres that are already established and should also establish many youth centres in all parts of a country with proper equipments and management so that youths must always be busy with youth centre activities rather than indulging themselves in harmful practices.

Yamikan Kasapha, who has been a member of Don Bosco youth centre for 5 years, agreed that the youth centre has completely changed his life.

Before I became a member of this youth centre, after school, I joined bad companies and participated in drug and substance abuse which could put my life on a danger of getting HIV and AIDS, but after joining this youth centre my life completely changed, he said.

Kasapha encouraged youths across the country to be active in youth centres which are located in their areas so that they do not stay idle after their school work but rather be emotionally and physically active.

In support of the centre coordinator remark, Kasapha said, It is time that government must assist youth centres which are across the country to save lives of many young people because young people are the country’s leaders today and in the future.

Source: Malawi News Agency � MANA