Peter Tanyanyiwa Suburban Reporter
IN light of the rising cases of gender-based violence and drug abuse, the church has stepped in with seminars and workshops to equip the young people with skills to keep them occupied.
Vision Pentecostal Church held a three-day revival conference last from June 17 to 19, 2022 where the church leadership sought to equip young people and married couples to save them from the pitfalls of drug abuse and gender based violence.
In an interview on the side-lines of the revival held in Harare, senior pastor Reverent John Peter Hakizimana said that during the COVID-19 lockdown many believers took a back seat, which gave room to gender based violence and substance abuse.
“We recently noted with concern the rise in the cases of gender-based violence and drug abuse among the young people. The lockdowns contributed to this as the church was closed and a lot of people lost their way. We are now trying to fix that. As the church we are against all forms of violence and substance abuse,” he said.
“We have organised programmes to teach the young people and young couples’ principles of life in families so that there will be less disagreements which usually lead to gender-based violence. Many of the cases are among young people, this is why we have made serious efforts to engage them. Mostly we found out that idle youths are the ones who are associated with drug abuse, so the young people should always be occupied,” said Rev Hakizimana.
The fight against gender-based violence (GBV) requires the participation of as many stakeholders as possible in the society including the church. Gender-based violence has become a pandemic.
Rev Hakizimana said many believers misunderstood Government’s efforts to protect its citizens against COVID-19 after the restrictions imposed on physical gatherings such as church services.
He said despite the relaxation of some of the restrictions there was still need for churches to continue observing COVID-19 protocols.
The Vision Pentecostal Church was formed in 2010 by refugees housed at Tongogara Refugee Camp in Manicaland. The church has also paid back the hospitality shown to its members by locals through handouts to communities affected by Cyclone Idai in Manicaland Province and COVID-19 induced lockdowns.