‘Politicians use youths as intimidation tools’

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Youth organisations working to assist underprivileged youths and children are lobbying for non-politicised youth assistance in Bulawayo and have formed a new organisation called Youth Assemblage Development Trust (YADT), with the core objective advocating for youths and sourcing donations for underprivileged children and youths in society.

The organisation’s founder and executive director Philani Sibanda said after noticing that political parties resorted to using youths for their political gains, which do not benefit youths, they came together and formed the organisation.

“We are lobbying the government to render non-political assistance to youths. Since the year 2000 many youths continue to be used as tools of intimidation by politicians on the pretext that they are being assisted to earn a living yet that is ruining their future,” said Sibanda.

He said politicians must stop abusing youths by perpetrating violence but render proper assistance.

“We are currently lobbying for a youth council that will attend issues affecting youths.

“We say politicians must stop the habit of using youths for violence because after youths engage in violent activities, they are shunned by community members,” said Sibanda.

He also expressed concern that banks are not assisting most youths to access loans meant for youths and small enterprises because they demand collateral which youths do not have.

“The issue of collateral is disadvantaging many youths who have no assets to put forward in order to access loans. As a result, such funds end up benefiting the rich and we are agitating for either no collateral or affordable collateral, especially for youths,” he said.

The organisation’s chairperson Thabisile Ndlovu said the organisation is sourcing funds to assist underprivileged children and youths.

“We are agitating for free primary education in order to enable all children to access education and avoid early marriages and criminal undertakings by youths who will be desperate to do something. We want to lobby school heads to allow children to go to school for free,” said Ndlovu.

She said rampant prostitution is a result of early drop-out from school. She said even shops employ people with five “O” Levels disadvantaging orphans from the working class who fail to access education.

“We say employers must be reasonable and understand that most orphans can not afford that kind of education. Does one require an “O” Level pass to arrange goods on shelves?” she asked.

Sibanda said their organisation is finding it difficult to access funds and donations because current regulations do not permit trust organisations to source donations from outside the country and even to conduct donor activities.

“We for some time tried to source funds meant to assist in paying school fees for underprivileged children mostly in rural areas but we failed after we had identified the beneficiaries.

“As long as the youths do not get proper assistance crime rate will escalate in the country,” said Sibanda.

Fortune Dube the organisation’s vice-chairperson said the government must allocate funds to youths and properly disburse them without political bias. He said part of monies raked in from the Chiadzwa diamond fields must benefit youths too.

“If the government is serious it must assist youths as they are the future of the country,” said Dube.