In Murewa in Zimbabwe, the children are voting for their child rights hero. Nomatter, 16, is a WCP Child Rights Ambassador and is responsible for all the ambassadors in the district. Many people come to her with their problems.
"I saw so many girls who were suffering in different ways. Many couldn’t afford sanitary towels so they used dried cow dung instead. This is dangerous, as bacteria can infect the body. Many people in this area also face early marriage and abuse. That’s why I wanted to become a Child Rights Ambassador and help everyone I can,” explains Nomatter.
Voice for the voiceless
“My job is to be a voice for the voiceless. I do talks about how dangerous early marriage is, and about abuse, so that adults and children know that it happens and that it’s wrong.”
All the school children know Nomatter.
“Now people are glad that there are ambassadors for children’s rights. Adults and children alike know that they can come to me and talk about their problems. We organise meetings where we gather information about the problems faced by children here. If there are problems we can’t solve ourselves, we tell the teachers. But if the problem involves the teachers then we go to an adult who is employed by the school, called the area coordinator.
“Sometimes I feel powerless. Once a 14-year-old girl told me she was going to be married off. She was an orphan and the people who cared for her had decided that she was to be married to a much older man. We told the adults, but there was nothing we could do. The very next day she was gone. Still, I’m glad that she trusted us enough to tell us.”
Listening and supporting
“One day a boy came and told us that his sister, Create, had been assaulted by a man who was HIV positive. I went to talk to her, and since then we’ve been friends. “It happened when another girl and I went to fetch wood at sunset,’ Create told me. ‘A man stepped out from a bush and threatened me with a knife. My friend ran away, but before I had a chance to think he knocked me down onto the grass. He said that he’d cut me if I screamed, so I just sobbed silently. When I got home I told my mother. She was furious, and we rushed to a clinic. I hadn’t contracted HIV, but there was clear evidence of the assault, so the man was arrested and convicted. “I talk to Nbmatter about what happened to me, and that helps. She has taught me that I have rights and that nobody has a right to hurt me in any way.’”