Friday, 30 April 2010

Mahaque Women’s Cooperative, HIV Project

HIV and AIDS has had a huge impact in Mozambique, at 12.5% for 15 – 49 year olds, it has one of the highest prevalence rate in sub-Saharan Africa. Over 800,000 women are living with HIV and there were 81,000 AIDs deaths in 2007 (UNICEF). We work at a local level to try to raise awareness and promote healthy living within the communities work. To help local Mozambicans to help themselves we aim to provide them with the tools so they have an opportunity to improve the quality of their lives.

The Happy Africa Foundation (THAF) plans to build a centre to be used as a meeting place and work site, primarily for women affected by HIV, but open to all members of the community. The women will use the centre as a small cooperative to generate funds for their families. We will provide the women with sewing machines, materials and the equipment necessary so that they can make small crafts, jewellery, clothing, school uniforms and other tailored items. We will teach the women how to run their business, how to keep records of their accounts, so that once the cooperative is generating income they will be able to manage this themselves.

In addition we will use the centre to hold talks on HIV as well as general nutrition for mothers and their babies. We will also support the women and their families in finding out their HIV status; ensuring that they have access to HIV voluntary counseling and testing (VCT).

The centre will be built at the same site as A Escolinaha de Boa Esperanca. The building will be a similar structure to the classroom at the pre-school, previously built by THAF in 2009. The centre will have a main room from where the ladies will sit with their machines and a smaller room that will serve as a resource room.

We hope to raise enough funds to provide five sewing machines for the centre. There will be enough tables and chairs for ten ladies to sit and sew or make crafts from. The resource centre will provide a secure space for all the materials and finished crafts to be stored.

To build the centre and set up the cooperative with the necessary machines and equipment will cost $20,000. We appreciate any support that you are able to give, to help us have a real impact on the lives of the women in Mahaque.

To make a donation or to find out more contact Lucy Pollock -

Community Families, Mahaque, Vilankulo

Working at the pre-school in Mahaque we recognise there is a real need in the community to support local families; many of whom are living in basic conditions, struggling to bring up children with the impact of HIV and AIDS but desperate to educate and equip themselves with skills so that they can begin to change their situation independently. We aim to empower families with knowledge and skills that will help to improve their health, education and employment opportunities. Ultimately we believe this will help to have a hugely positive effect not just on individual families but on the community as a whole. With the help of local resident, Sofia and the Secretary of the Bairro of Mahaque we are able to identify families that we believe are in greatest need and who will benefit the most from our support. After a family has been identified, we visit their home three times a week for one month.

HIV awareness

We talk with the family and help to educate them about HIV and AIDS, prevention and treatment. We will also ensure that all of the family has access to free testing to find out their HIV status. Many people who live with HIV are too afraid to get tested because of fear and ignorance and so fall ill quickly.

Craft making

To help give families the opportunities to support themselves we are teaching them skills that they can use to make a small income. We teach crafts and jewellery making to the women and show them new ways to create items, allowing them to differentiate their crafts from other sellers at the market. These will of course be available for volunteers to buy, as a special keepsake of the time they spent here! We will provide each family with the raw materials necessary to start up their small business.


We will help the family to prepare their land; assisting them with clearing, planting and weeding. In addition we will supply the materials so that they can build a small stall, from where they can sell their produce. Once they start to make a profit they will be able to put this back into their business to buy more materials.

Life skills

We discuss health and nutrition, to help them to understand how they can keep their family healthy. Where possible we also help to improve their employment opportunities; developing their CVs and helping them to write cover letters to companies.

To make a donation or to find out more contact Lucy Pollock -

A Escolinha de Boa Esperanca Farming Project

Approximately 70 children aged from three to six attend the small pre-school of A Escolinha de Boa Esperanca. The pre-school is one of only three in the area and provides essential early education to the local children.

African Impact started supporting the school after Cyclone Favio caused devastation throughout the town in 2007.

The school staff team is small; the two teachers Deolinda and Zelia and 24 hour guard and handy man, Lourenco.

The school’s vegetable garden is small and the few vegetables produced are used for the children’s lunch. But it isn’t enough.

The Happy Africa Foundation plans to develop the farm further so it can support the school all year round; provid

ing food for the children and generating valuable income for the school. Ultimately, helping the school towards its goal of self-sufficiency and ensuring that it has a sustainable future.

We want to grow plants and vegetables that are traditionally cultivated in Mozambique; such as the matapa plant and peanuts. Matapa and peanuts form one of the traditional Mozambican dishes and it is well loved by locals. We will grow beans, tomatoes, onions and carrots that will supplement the rice for the children’s lunch, ensuring they are getting important protein in their daily diet.

In addition we want to build a chicken coup and fence off an area so that the school can keep chickens and goats. We will then be able to make goat’s cheese to sell locally and the school will have a continuous supply of eggs!

We hope to raise enough funds to be able provide: seeds, farming tools (hoes, rakes, spades etc), fencing around the perimeter of the farm (to keep out the many animals that wander freely and to keep the chickens and goats in!) as well as shade netting (to protect the plants under the intense African sun). We will also need to build a small stall so that the vegetables and meat can be sold from there. The expected costs of the project will be approximately $10,000.

All help toward the project will help us to make a lasting impact on the community and will be hugely appreciated by the parents and children of A Escolinha de Boa Esperanca.

To make a donation or to find out more contact Lucy Pollock -

Monday, 19 April 2010

Health Week at Preschool

From the 12th – 16th April was Health Week in Vilanculos. With prior warning to the local community two doctors came to the preschool. It was a fantastic turn out of mothers with their children. The volunteers organised the children that attend our preschool in a large circle inside our classroom. Under the guidance of Deolinda and Zelia the volunteers helped administer a Vitamin B tablet to each child. The doctors meanwhile gave each mother a tetanus injection.

Tour of Vilanculos Hospital & Volunteers Giving Blood

Volunteers had an interesting and eye-opening tour of Vilanculos’ hospital. Warmly greeted by the doctor in charge, volunteers had the opportunity to see the inner workings of the hospital and see the examination rooms, labour ward, and laboratories. One of the most interesting aspects was touring the tents set-up after the cyclone damage in 2007. After the tour, six volunteers generously donated a pint of blood to aid the severely depleted blood reserves. Our translator Ricardo was a master at calming nervous volunteers and the juice boxes served after were a highlight of everyone’s day.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Testing Day with Pedro at Vilanculos Hospital

The volunteers also had the opportunity to work with Pedro a doctor working with HIV/AIDS patients at Vilanculos Hospital. The volunteers experienced first hand the procedure of someone coming in to be tested (as well as getting tested themselves!) and the aftermath care and counselling for those that were positive. This amounted to a really informative and humbling experience for the volunteers involved.

HIV/AIDS Testing day with CARE at Pembara

In addition with working with Sofia the volunteers had the opportunity to work with CARE International on one of their testing days in the community. On this occasion it was just out of Vilanculos at Pembara. This was a great opportunity to see how testing for HIV/AIDS is accepted by the community. With the help of dvds based around HIV/AIDS, true and false games, acting out situation with dolls as well as stories the volunteers entertained and educated those waiting to be tested. In total CARE tested 30 people. There was a great deal of positive feedback from CARE and the community so the day was a great success.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

HIV project with Sofia's Family

An HIV Project has been created to work one-on-one with a family. The most delightful family was found – Sofia, an HIV positive woman, and her daughter and two sons, one of which has a girlfriend and young daughter living in the home. Given how taboo the subject is in Vilanculos, it was fantastic to find such a remarkable woman who was so open with her situation. After a couple weeks of discussion, education and awareness around HIV/AIDS the volunteers asked the family if they would be willing to go for an HIV test. Much to our delight, they eagerly agreed and all were overjoyed when the results came back negative.

In addition to the counselling and education, volunteers have also provided tangible support in the form of assisting the family prepare seed beds and plant this year’s crop and build a new home for the family. Volunteers just finished putting on the roof last week it was amazing to see so much progress in such a short time. The aim for the future is that Sofia and her family will use the help that they have been given to develop the farm further to enable them to sell the produce and have an income.

What a turnout for Edson's English!

The Edson’s English Class has shifted sites to the Catholic Church just up the road, offering more space and an indoor option in case of rain. Registration was immensely popular – over 100 students enrolled in total! Numbers got so large we actually had to close registration to new applicants, a tremendous testimony to last year’s volunteers creating such a positive vibe in the community – well done all! Two beginner sections and one intermediate section have been created with a number of returning students from last year.

A new school year at Preschool

The new preschool year was welcomed with great enthusiasm from the students. A strong contingent of 60 kids show up every morning anxious to play and learn with the volunteers. Thursday trips to the beach continue to be highlight of everyone’s week. Land has been cleared and seeds planted for the new crop of tomato, carrot, cabbage and onion. We, with the trusted help of Lourenco, have started harvesting peanuts and are using them to add some protein to the children's lunchtime rice.

Aguia Negra - Our New Home!

March has been an exciting month for AI-Mozambique. After closing for three months during the Christmas holiday, we welcomed our first volunteers at our beautiful new Aguia Negra home. The new site provides a scenic pool overlooking the coast, regular electricity, and close proximity to preschool. It was a delight to have each and every one of the twelve volunteers in March. They who worked strongly together as a group both on projects and socially.