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kiki



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As a child, I was sexually abused by a male adult relative who was close to my family at that time. I was just 5 years old and I remember this went on till I was about age 10. It wasn’t just one male adult relative. It was an unpleasant experience. It was horrific. It always happened in the dark of the night. There was no one to call out to. Even when I thought of telling my parents, I didn’t trust that they would handle it in a …

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I had a great time at the 1st day of a 2day review meeting with stakeholders on the HIV/AIDS Anti-Stigmatization Bill. In attendance were organizations like Association of Women Living with HIV in Nigeria (ASWHAN), Association of Positive Youth Living With HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (APYIN), Positive Action for Treatment Access (PATA), Education as a Vaccine (EVA), National Youth Network of people living with HIV/AIDS (NYNETHA), to mention a few.

The essence of the review meeting was to analyze the content of the Anti-Stigma Bill and to make specific recommendations …

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In Nigeria, LGBT youth have been in the low, though they have a presence but not dominant. In fact, quite a number of young people are beginning to identify more as either lesbian or gay and its becoming more acceptable within the youth population than with the older people. Even though the majority of the Nigerian society frowns against it, particularly older people due to cultural and religious beliefs, that hasn’t really changed how people express their sexuality.

However, it is actually difficult for young people to freely …

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 The 45th session of the Commission on Population and Development commenced 5days ago. This year’s theme is Adolescents and young people and the whole essence of this year’s commission is to review and access the progress of the ICPD and to proffer solutions to the unlimited social problems young people are facing ranging from reproductive health issues to unemployment to education and so on.

Since the last 4days, so much about the statistics of young people that are being affected by several health issues has been reiterated by different …

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Looking around us, at the posh homes, luxurious lifestyles, nice cars, seems like the people who own these things are actually making a better impact in the world, like they have more meaning to their existence. With the change in times today, the youth population and mind-set is much more complex and diverse.
Bringing it home to Nigeria, we have a huge disparity for opportunities amongst our youths. Some are rich; some are poor, while some don’t even have the opportunity at all. In a capitalist nation like …

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On Sunday the 30th of January, my friend called me from the hospital asking if  my blood group and genotype was AA/ A+ because she had been admitted and needed to have a blood transfusion. I knew my genotype is AA but I wasn’t sure if I was A+. Anyways I quickly went to meet her at the hospital so I could at least find out. When I got there, she gave me a note to go to the lab and find out whether or not I am A+. …

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Many young people in Nigeria are still ignorant about their RIGHTS. Some have totally given up on their dreams due to life’s challenges, dashed hopes and the state of the Nigerian economic situation while others are just floating and have accepted to fate saying “what will be will be. My dear friends, being lax would not change anything; the problems we face today are the opportunities we need to make meaning out of life.

Listen! Over the years, leadership has been a major issue in this nation and that …

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In a world of 7 Billion what do you see — Opportunities or Challenges?

World population reached 7 Billion on 31st October (UNFPA). Young people (10 to 24) make up 43% of the world’s population; 1.2 billion people are adolescent ages 10 to 19, the largest population of adolescents ever in history while 4 out of every 5 adolescent live in the developing world. Half of the population in Sub Saharan Africa is under the age of 15 and less that 5% is over age 60. And my dear …

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December 2010, the Youth Advocates Group (YAG) launched the RED CARD campaign to push Nigerian legislators to pass the ANTI-STIGMA BILL. YAG had previously made recommendations on the bill during the public hearing in November 2010. In preparation for the launching of the campaign, YAG set out into 12 states to engage young people in the signing of the RED CARD to their representatives. Youth participation was meaningful as 2, 010 young people signed the RED CARD. Also, messages on the RED CARD by the youth were real, diverse …

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"When women and adolescent girls have rights and opportunities, their families, communities and nations prosper." UNFPA Executive. Director – Babatunde Oshotimehin

The 2008 National Demographic Health Survey NDHS estimates that 25% of males and 50% of females between the ages of 10-19 years have commenced sexual activity. In 2008, the median age of first sexual intercourse was estimated at 17.7years for females and 20.6 years for males. These risks are increased by a low contraceptive use rate of only 15% in Nigeria. The need for health education interventions is …

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On 28 March, I was in a 2-day dissemination meeting of the RH-HIV integration guidelines by the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) and one thing that struck me was the announcement of free planning commodities at all levels by the Director for Family Health, Dr Momah. Again on 24 May, the Honourable Minister of Health represented by the Permanent Secretary in person of Dr Mrs. Majekodunmi also reiterated that Family Planning commodities has now been made free at all levels at the Safe-Motherhood day commemoration event by FMOH . …

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Our election has come and gone but the euphoria is still in the air. Youth participation in elections this year amounts to the highest in Nigeria’s history. Who would have thought young people would come out in such numbers to exercise their voting power considering the fact that they face a lot developmental challenges such as unemployment, poverty, high rate of HIV infection, illiteracy and so on. Still, we came out and made a huge impact in terms of participation and voting who we thought would deliver.

Nigerian youths …

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The passage of the National Health Bill has become a battle even though it has been passed at the Senate; all that is left is for the President to sign the Bill so it can become law. All of a sudden, a group of health workers are kicking against the signing of the Bill by Mr President due to some personal interest. They even held a press conference to state their position.

Am sure you are wondering what their argument is. In the Section 8 of the bill, it …

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In Nigeria, youth involvement in policymaking processes is very rare. I can almost say it does not exist because young people are not considered as major contributors to policy issues, even when these policies affect our lives. The government believes that we do not have anything to offer in terms of policy making, so they see no point involving us. The only time they think of young people’s participation is during elections; they only use us to get into power and after which they dispose us.

In recent times …

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Editor’s Note: This post is part of the 2011 Amplify International Women’s Day Blogathon. Click here to learn more about how you can join this week of action.

This year marks 100 years of commemorating International Women’s Day. In times like these, I wonder what goes on in the minds of Nigerian leaders.

It has been 100 years now, but when I look around, I feel so sad. The issues faced by young girls are more than 100 if we begin to count, yet it has been 100 …

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Headline news on one of Nigeria’s top print media- Daily Trust Newspaper – “The Youth Advocates Group gives Senator Iyabo Obasanjo Bello a RED CARD.” Very Impressive!

On the 1st of December 2010, the RED CARD Campaign, an initiative of the Youth Advocates Group (YAG) was a way of getting Nigerian youths involved in influencing government policies and eventually putting a stop to the social injustice that exists in Nigeria’s Academic Institutions.

STIGMA has been a major concern for young people with disabilities, HIV/AIDS or other reproductive health challenges …

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During the African Youth Development Forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, someone asked, “Why build a boat without a paddle?” For a second, it got me thinking and I tried to imagine what a boat without a paddle looks like. I painted a picture in my head of Africa as the boat without a paddle. It is a state of stagnancy, which can also bring about confusion.

However, why would anyone build a boat without a paddle? That does not make any sense logically; if there is a boat, there …

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For many years now, Africa has been in a state of dependency on aids from international organizations and other western countries. The challenges we face in Africa continue to shift from one generation to the next. So far, transition in terms of the older generation passing the baton of responsibility to the youth has been non-existence.

I look at Africa today and I wonder why we are so backwards in terms of economic development, environment, health and education. A continent blessed with so many resources, from oil and gas …

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Today in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, 1 November 2010, about 500 youth leaders and the African Union executives, Heads of states, Ambassadors and government came together to celebrate the African Youth Day and to commemorate the International Year of the Youth. It was such a beautiful experience as I saw young leaders including myself having dialogue with African Leaders.

During the course of the event, young people had the opportunity to talk as well as the leaders themselves. As I listened, I realized that the change we desire in Africa …

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Have you ever thought about this before? As a young person, what comes to mind when you think about Leadership? Who do you see as a leader? Around you today, who are the leaders?

Just in case you are thinking too far, that face is what you see when you look in the mirror.

In Nigeria today, there is a lot of misconception about Leadership. When young people think about leadership, position comes to mind. That is wrong!  Moreover, its one of the reasons we have not made …

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Has it ever dawned on you that every minute, a woman dies in childbirth? Do you know what that means? EVERY MINUTE!

Did you know that every day, 6,800 people are newly infected with HIV/AIDS &emdash; half are under the age of 25 and 60 percent of those are women or girls.

Do you ever think about how the health of women, particularly girls affects you? Imagine if health care facilities worked effectively in Nigeria….

In many countries, women are the primary providers for their families, not only …

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Does everyone really count? I do not think so. What I see in Nigeria today is a people who cannot get basic necessities of life like access to health care, information, education, simply because they belong to a certain class which has led to the death of so many innocent lives.

Over half a million women die every year in childbirth or from pregnancy related causes. Virtually all (99%) of these pregnancy related maternal deaths occur in low income countries like Nigeria. Why should a woman die giving life?…

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The 5th National AIDS conference in Abuja, Nigeria was a wonderful experience for me. It was themed Ownership and Sustainability. There were over 200 young people at the Youth Pre-Conference from different organizations and groups. The different plenary sessions were rich, creative, educative and Informative. It was also a very good avenue for me to network with other youth groups and allies.

Every young person had the opportunity to learn and share at the Youth pre-conference such that a communiqué was reach at the end of the youth pre-conference. …

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W.H.O estimates that between 100 and 140 million girls and women worldwide are living with the consequences of FGM today. 

FGM is a harmful practice, a violation of women and children’s right. It’s not a cutting neither is it a circumcision it is a mutilation. Some say it helps preserves virginity and ensuring fidelity, others say it enhances fertility and infant survival and some even say its religion; completely barbaric in my opinion. 

Why do we do this to our girl child? Listen to the cry of seliat, a …

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I never knew there was a large community of GBLTQ in Nigeria until 2days ago. A friend of mine had attended gays monthly party in a club, where the whole community of Gay people come together to celebrate themselves, dance, share and just do fun stuff together. Some lesbians attended too.

She told me she was amazed to see guys who were more in sync with their feminine touch even more than some naturally born girls, how they danced, their charisma and of course their dressing. She was totally …

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Do you know female condoms exist?  NO

Have you seen one before?  NO

Do you know how it is used? NO

These are the questions I asked a 23 year-old sexually active female.

The issue of female condoms not being available and accessible in Nigeria is one that I believe should be addressed. In Nigeria, female condoms don’t exist except in NGOs that are involved in SRH-related programs, and usually they only have samples for people to see what it looks like.  Just last week, I …

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The rights of young people in Nigeria have eluded them. How do young people stand up for their rights and responsibilities when they don’t even know what rights they have and are not given responsibilities?

How will my friend Kunle, a 9 year-old male who lives in a remote village, get access to education when the closest school is about 2 hours’ walk away?  Kunle doesn’t even know he has a right to an education. How will Ramata, a 12 year-old female, make her parents understand that the …

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As we commemorate International Women’s Day with the theme “Equal rights, Equal opportunities; Progress for all”, we must bring to the forefront the challenges surrounding education of the girl-child, which remains a vital component for development in our society. 

Imagine your life today without an education. Imagine you in a world where you don’t have the right to go to school, not even a choice to consider education. What you see is the experience of so many females living in Nigeria, particularly in the Northern region, in which lies …

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The Youth Advocates Group in Nigeria had her first Campus organizing activity at the University of Abuja and it was a success. The theme of the event was on Stigmatization and there were over 250 students present. It was particularly interesting because Stigma and discrimination has been a major challenge for young people who are HIV positive and seeking an admission into the University. Quite a number of students have been denied admission based on their HIV status. So is the story of Gloria whom I met sometime late …

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As a peer educator or someone working on SRH issues, have you ever thought about what you would do if you were told you have AIDS? Or you were told someone very close to you got infected somehow, will you blame yourself? Will you live in denial of the reality of your new found status? And for that person close to you, will you show them all the love and care? Will you? All these questions bring me to the story of a young lady that I know. She …

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Guys, it’s one thing when you are being harassed as a child, either sexually or physically because you are a child and you can’t stand up for yourself. However, it is another thing when as an adult – I mean above 18 – you are being sexually harassed, but you can’t stand up for yourself.
This reminds me of an unpleasant incident I experienced recently. I was walking on the road side by the market and it was quite rowdy as many people were trooping into the market. …

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The World AIDS Day celebrations were quite dramatic here in Abuja, Nigeria. While everyone was in the Conference room at the Yaradua Centre in Abuja listening to presentations from the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) Director General, the Chairman House Committee on HIV/AIDS, the Senate Committee Chair on Health and other relevant stakeholders and groups, a horde of people arrived, wailing and screaming at the tops of their voices and carrying a coffin with the name of the Director General (NACA). It was the PLWHAs, …

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In Nigeria, the virus has been on the loose since 1986. It has taken the lives of many innocent people. It’s called Human Immune Deficiency Virus that has the ability to grow into Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, (HIV/AIDS).  What a name!
Globally, half of the world’s HIV/AIDS infected people are women and children with 6,800 new HIV infections occurring each day. Nigeria ranks second in terms of the actual number of people infected with HIV after India.  In Nigeria, young people constitute over 33.6% (47 million) of the Nigerian …

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As part of our activities for World AIDS Day, the Youth Advocates Group was at the university community in  Gwagwalada, Abuja, with some youth groups from the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) and other stakeholders to sensitize the general public on HIV/AIDS and distribute condoms and stickers.
It was so much fun. I got different responses from people. Some people were so glad, especially the guys, since most of them were on their way home for the Sallah break. Some other guys asked me to give …

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The enactment of the Anti-Stigmatization Bill in Nigeria is something that the whole community of People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), people affected by HIV/AIDS and other relevant stakeholders have looked forward to. It’s gone back and forth in the National Assembly, been reviewed a number of times, edited and scrutinized in great detail. Again, it has been brought to the table for review. But, is it going to be passed this time, or is it just a ploy to raise hopes? Even if it is enacted, will it give …

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A large percentage of young people in Nigeria attend Federal and State schools, some don’t even go to school and very few attend private universities. Right now the Academic Staff University Union (ASUU) has an issue with the Federal Government and has closed down all universities in Nigeria because government won’t accede to their request. ASUU wants a 100% increment in salaries and other entitlement. For this reason, young people are forced out of school because there is an issue with ASUU and the Federal Government.

 Nigerian students

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Have you ever heard of the 3R’s? It’s an acronym for Rights, Respect and Responsibility. It’s a global thing and should be a local thing. Young people at different levels both local and international are standing up to their responsibilities. They are reaching out to other young people and letting their government know they are initiators of global change, letting their government know that they are part of nation building, letting them know that they have a right and their government is responsible to them. It’s a global thing! …

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On whose side do you belong?
The other day, I posted a link on face book addressing the issue of the University Strike in Nigeria and guess what someone said. He said we better be careful because in Nigeria “white turns black”. I was infuriated. What a comment! I guess what he meant was anything goes, it’s not a country where leaders are going to support you for standing up for your rights.
It seems to me that so many young people in Nigeria have not a clue about …

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(the following is from Kikelomo, one of our youth activists in Nigeria)

The Urban Retreat Experience.

 
It was phenomenal! The Urban retreat was an experience, one that will continue to live on in me forever. Having so many young people with a passion, an identity, self worth and value come together at the Urban Retreat was totally awesome. Young people on a mission, young folks who know what it means to be a mother at sixteen, who knows what it feels like to be rejected, who knows …

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The paramount importance of ASRH issues to young people cannot be overemphasized since the youths are the future of today and the leaders of tomorrow.
 
In recent times, the government has made several attempts to put programmes and interventions in place suitable for young people to meet their sexual and reproductive health needs but sustainability, impact in quantity and quality has been a major issue. It’s either there are no funds or there is a change in power or the funds available have not been released.
 
How …

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(the following is from Kiki, one of our youth activists in Nigeria)

Contraceptives Contraceptives!!! There is a whole lot of misconception about the use of contraceptives where I come from. Some say it causes infertility, make you gain weight and can lead to cancer, others say it causes high blood pressure and irregular menstrual cycle. What do you say?
 
It’s amazing what some young folks think about Sex and contraceptives or the use of contraceptives. This is what Ebere, a young female thinks about the use of …

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I recently came across an article in one of the dailies here in Nigeria. It immediately caught my attention with its title; 12 YEAR OLD GIRL RAPED BY 52 YEAR OLD H.I.V. POSITIVE TEACHER. I was stunned quickly tearing through the paper to get to the page that carried the article. I had quite a number of thoughts going through my mind: how did that happen, where, if they found that the man has H.I.V that means they tested him or did they? And then I felt a bit …

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It was always interesting watching parents in movies try to explain to their young children “the birds and the bees”. I remember that in most cases the parent would cringe and stutter all in a bid to help their children understand the differences between birds and bees. Just as how we have seen tremendous changes in technology and so on, there are huge changes to what parents and children talk about in the area of the birds and the bees these days. While in most part of Africa as …

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(the following is from Kiki, one of our youth activists in Nigeria)

Gender discrimination, an ill that still festers in various recesses of our society. Even today we find that every woman has and is still suffering one form of gender discrimination or the other. This is an interview of a young lady who has suffered this in no small way. Her name and certain other facts have been withheld for obvious reasons.

Question: Could you please say where you are from?

Answer: I am from Bida, in

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(The following is from Kiki, one of our youth advocates in Nigeria)

It happened on July 7th 2009, to be precise, that we received an invitation from the Minister for Health to be a part of the dissemination workshop of the Assessment Report on the Situation of National Response of Young People’s Sexual Reproductive Health and Development in Nigeria. We were all so excited to have received the invitation because the Minister himself was to be present at the workshop and other relevant stakeholders. We believed it

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(The following is from Kikelomo, one of our youth activists in Nigeria)

Some days ago, I spoke to a teenage girl in one of the communities on the outskirts of town who already has a 7 months old baby. I asked her about how she got pregnant and she told me that her boyfriend usually would use of a condom when they had sex, but that very day he wanted to get down “natural”, so he called it. That was his reason for not using a condom. She said,

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(The following is from Kikelomo, one of our youth activists in Nigeria)
 
The other day I went into a Primary Health Care center. Though I’ve seen it before, I never knew they offered such services. This faithful day I decided to go there and ask if they had information and services on contraceptives and condoms, and tell them some of the changes I’ve noticed about my sexual and reproductive health.
 
As a Youth Activist, advocating for young people’s reproductive health and sexuality, I’ve never had any experience …

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There is this saying that evil prevails when good people do nothing. This is especially true and not just in the ageless battle between good and evil, but if you look closely, in our daily lives. A lot of times we consider ourselves free from certain responsibilities because there are a bunch of people we labeled with a fancy name and the illusion of having the responsibility to see to it that we go on living our lives care free. You even find people making statements like ‘isn’t the …

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Knowledge is key
And this key opens doors
These doors are path ways leading to many different ends
These ends are not usually the same
There are huge differences from end to end
Differences that set them worlds apart
However we all have a path to thread
And an end to meet
Whether we meet the right end depends on which path we walk
Whether we walk the right path depends on which door we open
Whether we open the right door depends on which key we have
Knowledge …

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One out of every ten people is HIV positive or so they say. 1.2 billion People the world over are currently living with HIV. What has happened to our world? What has happened to us?
Man is a free moral agent he however walks about in chains. Chains his choices have created and ultimately keep him in. I like the song ‘heal the world save the children’, whose job is it? Who is to help me understand that a fifth of my friends in class according to statistics have …

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Where are the fathers? Where are our builders, our molders, where are the ones to lead us by the hands? Where are the fathers? 19% of girls and women are living with the consequences of female genital mutilation, where are the fathers? Abortion complications account for 72% of all deaths among young girls under the age of 19 years in Nigeria, where are the fathers?
Rukewe loves to smile, paint and dance, she is only 3 years old and needs to understand why she might not live to be 15 …

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One out of every ten people is HIV positive or so they say. 1.2 billion People the world over are currently living with HIV. What has happened to our world? What has happened to us?
Man is a free moral agent he however walks about in chains. Chains his choices have created and ultimately keep him in. I like the song ‘heal the world save the children’, whose job is it? Who is to help me understand that a fifth of my friends in class according to statistics have …

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Kugum! Kugum! Kugum! Her little heart pounded as she watched another future scarred forever. Where was Justice? Reason? Common-sense? Civility? How in this day and age could one undergo such horror, such pain? What about her dignity? What about choice? What about…….what about? “Could we not……” even as she spoke her words were drowned by fear of the consequences. This “thing” that we do have no health benefits, it’s barbaric, what’s more! It could cause problems during urinating, infections and worse still childbirth complications and even death to new …

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“Over the years, I’ve always been very passionate about influencing my peers and for them doing something tangible with their life especially being a teenager on the journey too. I believed there was a purpose for my life and l held so much to my dreams of becoming someone important through my dedication to my education. I see Life as a beautiful place with beautiful people but what I don’t see is a Beautiful World. The combination of the two eludes me.
 
I am an 18 years old …