Necalar fixing a motor engine as part of her practical skills training 

Meet 20-year-old Necalar a Siyakha Girl from Mutare district a U.S President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)/ United States Agency for International Development in Zimbabwe (USAID Zimbabwe) supported district. Necalar is determined to enter the male-dominated field of motor mechanics.

My life has changed, I have gained knowledge in mechanics a field of work which is dominated by men. As a girl, the DREAMS SMART Girls program has equipped me with relevant life skills.”

Having completed her Advanced Level studies in 2020 attaining 10 points, Necalar could not continue into tertiary education as both her parents could not raise the much-needed tuition. At this time Necalar felt hopeless and thought the only way out was getting married a development which her parents disagreed on considering her age. Taking heed of her parent’s advice, Necalar stopped thinking of getting married and began doing piece jobs coupled with hoarding vegetables and grain for resale to raise money to support her parents and three of her siblings’ educational needs.

It was not an easy journey for Necalar, while she was working and selling her merchandise many a time, married and older men would offer her money for sexual favours but Necalar stood firm to the promise she made to herself and her parents.

“While I was selling vegetables and grain and even at work, men older than me and married ones too would come to me and ask me for sexual favours in exchange for money. I was tempted but stood firm to the promise I made to my parents not to get married or indulge in risky behaviours,” said Necalar.

In July 2022, Necalar was identified and enrolled on the DREAMS SMART Girls program and took part in HIV and GBV prevention, financial literacy and social asset-building sessions. After completing these sessions, Necalar was then referred to Siyakha Girls where she received life skills and job preparedness training, Social Asset building and prevention of Sexual Harassment (SASH) sessions. In September 2022 through the DREAMS SMART Girls Program, Necalar enrolled at Mutare Polytechnic College for vocational skills training in motor mechanics and currently is doing her internship in motor mechanics.

To date, the DREAMS SMART Girls program has reached 327 Adolescent Girls and Young Women with vocational technical skills training in Makoni, Mutare and Chipinge.