Poverty pushes college girls to Blessers

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By CHENGETO CHIDI

YOUNG college girls at the University of Zimbabwe are falling prey to older monied men, as they try to escape biting poverty while on their way to attaining degrees.

The dire economic situation which has seen parents struggle to pay for university and college fees, buy food and clothing for their children has been blamed as the single largest problem fueling the Blesser, Blesse phenomena in institutions.

Speaking out on a Saywhat and the Embassy of Sweden sponsored show, student voluntary peer educators said female students engage in sexual relationships with older married men in return for favours because they can’t afford the lives they want to live

“There is peer pressure yes but then sometimes it’s not peer pressure, it’s the economy; it’s forcing girls into this situation,” Nomagugu Mananairi said.

UZ Students Representative Council (SRC) president Abiona Mataranyika said the government is partially responsible for the way female students resort to exchanging sexual favours in return for financial favours because students were struggling to get by.

“We also blame the economy because the economy has not been friendly lately it has been getting worse and worse every day, “she said.

She also said it also lies with the parents’ responsibility to converse with their children “We also blame the parents these days because they never take time to spend it to talk to their kids,” she said.

However the UZ president said they’re trying by all means to combat this issue by introducing counseling services for students where they are free to express themselves as well as platforms to be mentored on how to handle peer pressure

“We have managed to establish what we call the UZ Mental Health Support Group and we have about 4 groups that means about 1000 students in those groups where we talk about then inviting professional people and people that are specialized in that area who are very good at these conversations and so far so good from the feedback we have been getting from students. The institution in general has one lady at the clinic who is always ready to talk to the students about these issues,” she said.