Zvandiri was founded in 2004 when 13-year-old Simbisai wrote a letter asking for a safe space where children and adolescents living with HIV could connect, support and learn from each other. Led by six young people from Harare, Zimbabwe, the first support group was set up. 14-year-old Amanda named the group ‘Zvandiri’ meaning accept me ‘As I am’. These young people were just learning about their HIV status and what it meant for them. At that time, paediatric and adolescent HIV testing services, treatment and care were only just beginning to be available but they wanted more than medicines and clinic visits. They wanted happiness, hope, confidence and self-acceptance. This group evolved in to the Zvandiri model of peer-led clinic, community and digital services we offer today. Since 2004, young people have remained central in driving the design, delivery and evaluation of Zvandiri’s programmes and innovations.
Some of these amazing young people still work with Zvandiri and others continue to support children, adolescents and young people living with HIV in other roles and organisations in Zimbabwe and beyond.
Loyce Maturu is the passionate and fiery leader behind Zvandiri’s Advocacy Department. She has been an integral part of the Zvandiri family since 2004 when she joined as a beneficiary. Loyce has held many different roles and impacted the lives of thousands through her bold, courageous advocacy.
Rumbidzai Matilda Chidora works with Zvandiri as a mentor under the Technical Support Unit. Rumbi supports children and adolescents living with HIV to improve retention in care, to reduce viral load of HIV and to make sure that adolescents are psychologically stable.
Sungano Bondayi has been with Zvandiri since 2014 and currently works as the communications officer managing Zvandiri’s social media and website, and supporting skills development around the use of Mhealth and digital devices for programme implementation.
Over the last few years Phyllis has tackled personal and professional challenges, taking her on a path from Community Adolescent Treatment Supporter to Zvandiri intern, Mentor and now thriving in her role as a Psychologist
Martin has been with Zvandiri since 2009. Holding various roles throughout the years, he has been a sought-after trainer, a mentor to peers and colleagues and now supports 1,670 children, adolescent and young people living with HIV in five facilities in a district south-west of Harare.
Farai began working as a Community Adolescent Treatment Supporter at Zvandiri in 2016. This is where is he found his calling and passion for standing up for the rights and fair treatment of adolescents and young people both living with HIV and those seeking HIV testing and information.
Paul Mavesere Ndhlovu works in the communications and advocacy department of Zvandiri. Paul has tremendous expertise identifying community and health challenges faced by young people living with HIV and turns these topics into radio shows, to share information and to advocate for adolescent health.
Luckmore is a young person openly living with HIV and working to achieve results for adolescent and young people. He is proactive in advocating for a better world for children, adolescents, young people, their families and communities.
Maximina is an established HIV and gender equality advocate and young leader. She has eight years of experience in health programming with a focus on adolescent and young people including, adolescent girls and young women, gender equality and women’s empowerment, sexual reproductive health and rights, youth development, and leadership.
Tendai Bvoro is a young man whose care, support and open demeanour undoubtedly saved countless lives amongst his peers during his time as a Community Adolescent Treatment Supporter.
Tendai was an outstanding CATS, full of energy, ideas, creativity and always had a “YES!” prepared in his responses.