DURBAN – REIGNING Miss South Africa, Shudufhadzo Musida, joined the mayor of eThekwini Municipality, Mxolisi Kaunda, to launch the project which aims to fight new HIV infections and gender-based violence.
The Dream program – Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-Free, Mentored and Safe – was officially launched in Amawoti near Inanda, with the aim of reducing the rate of new HIV infections, especially among adolescent girls and young people. women.
DREAMS is a national campaign to empower adolescent girls and young women to reach their potential and maximize their contribution to society.
In her speech, Kaunda noted that young women between the ages of 15 and 24 are vulnerable to HIV infection in South Africa.
According to him, according to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV / AIDS, 1,975 girls and women were infected with HIV every week.
He said statistics from the Ministry of Health indicate that Inanda as a whole continues to experience an increase in the number of new HIV and AIDS infections among young people.
“Since the start of the lockdown, we have also seen an increase in the number of patients who drop out of treatment. Therefore, we are optimistic that this program will help us stem the tide of HIV and AIDS among young people. However, for the DREAMS Campaign to be successful, we need to strengthen partnerships between community structures and government, ”Kaunda said.
He said it was important to work hard to reduce the rate of new infections among young girls and women, as well as to reduce teenage pregnancies and ensure that girls stay in school until. maturity.
“Once we were able to create an environment that would ensure girls’ retention in school, we would have empowered them for the future.” Ultimately, women will take their rightful place in all sectors of our society – without any gender and gender discrimination. violence, ”Kaunda said.
The mayor said that to rid society of all forms of violence against women, men must be involved and must be agents of change.
“Therefore, we are happy that DREAM has an element that targets boys and young men. We also believe that when young boys grow up in an environment that does not tolerate violence against women, they will become responsible men who protect women instead of being their abusers, ”Kaunda said.
He added that city leaders are actively involved in eThekwini’s men’s sector and have been able to open the conversation about the men’s response and the role they play in ending gender-based violence.