“I have always wanted to be part of a something great, a movement of some kind. I want to belong, to be accepted into a group, to fit in.

My desire to belong to a group got me involved with bad company. Most of my friends teased me about being 15 and still a virgin. They mocked me, saying ‘Virgins don’t exist because it’s old fashioned.’

I knew that in order to fit in, I needed to lose my virginity. The thought of disappointing my parents haunted me, but the pressure from my friends was mounting. I needed to lose this virginity and be cool.

The next day at school a young lady walked into our class. She introduced herself as the DREAMS facilitator at a nearby library, and she said something the struck me: ‘A DREAMS girl is unique. There is no one like her. She is cut from a different cloth. She doesn’t need to fit in. She is whole and was meant to stand out.’

After school, I immediately went to the Lubuto Library and signed up for the DREAMS mentoring program. During one of the mentoring sessions, we learnt about the importance of delaying sexual debut. After that session, I knew it was time to choose new friends.

Part of our mentoring program involves going on different career field trips. My favorite trip was to Airtel Zambia where I met influential women who inspired me and challenged me to be ambitious. Since joining the mentoring program, my attitude towards life has changed. My parents are proud of me, and my energy is channeled towards completing my school and becoming a journalist.

My wish is for programs like DREAMS to be part of the school curriculum in all the provinces in Zambia, because there is a girl out there who needs to hear the message like I needed.”

Betty has since started high school and has started a DREAMS club there.

Lubuto Library Partners