Gender Gender

Increase support for young people, State, stakeholders told

NATASHA Kaoma, winner of the Queen’s Young Leaders Award, says government and other stakeholders need to increase support to young people who are transforming lives and contributing to national development in Zambia.
Ms Kaoma, a final year medical student, said Zambia has been blessed with skillful young people that are willing to contribute to national development but are limited by the lack of financial among other supports.
She, however, said self-denial is the biggest robber of opportunities but that young people should endeavour to remain determined, focused and always believing in their abilities though they may face challenges.
“We young people are not taken seriously and are often perceived to be promiscuous and yet we have the ability to contribute positively to national growth. At first, I was afraid to apply for the award because no one from Zambia was picked last year but I was confident that I would scoop it by the Grace of God,” she said.
Ms Kaoma, a co-founder of Copper Rose, an organisation that reaches out to adolescents on sexual and reproductive health, urged parents and guardians to provide equal education opportunities that will enable both boys and girls explore their potential in life.
She said myths surrounding menstruation especially in rural areas compelled her to educate women and girls about the importance of sexuality and reproductive health.
Ms Kaoma is due to travel to the United Kingdom (UK) next June to receive her award from Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace.
The Queen’s Young Leader Award recognises and celebrates exceptional people aged between 18 and 29 years from across the Commonwealth, who are taking the lead in their communities and using their skills to transform lives.
In 2015, while attending medical school at the University of Zambia, Ms Kaoma co-founded Copper Rose Zambia to provide sexuality and reproductive health education to women and girls.
Her passion to raise awareness about sexual health and fundraising initiatives culminating into the provision of menstrual hygiene kits to girls in rural areas, won her the Queen’s Young Leaders Award.

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