"Mana" Patricia Acquaviva and Belide at the SLM HIV Centre, September 2016
Today is not a happy day for ALG. Our young Belide passed away.
At ALG every day is made of small setbacks and huge happiness.
There is a lot of happiness: every time a child transitions to the next grade, every time a girl does not abandon school because she became pregnant too early, every time a mum leaves her little child safe in a pre-school to go to work and earn a meagre salary for her family… every time this happens it is a happy time for ALG. Every time a sponsor gives us a word of encouragement and show us how happy they are for having a child of their “own”...it is a happy day for ALG.
Belide Jorge Ubisse was one among the almost 2´500 children ALG supports every year.
It is easy to get lost in numbers and names of so many little faces that show sadness and happiness at the same time, that are hungry but positive, who have with aching bodies from years of deprivation, but who have also bright eyes full of hope just like every child growing up. Resistant. Resilient. Little heroes.
But Belide was not just another face. He stayed in my memory as a child who, already an orphan, was also infected with HIV, along with his little sister Maria. He was with ALG since 2011, 11 years recently celebrated in a poor house and in poor health.
He entered our SLM HIV Day Care Centre almost 4 years ago when he was studying at the SLM school. He continued living in his poor house made of clay and zinc sheets with one single room, looked after by a caring, but also ill, aunt and by his older brother who drives local buses, and was constantly away working, but who loved Belide very much.
Every quarter, among the 30 children who also attended the Centre, he was always the one I looked first to check his grades. I was amazed by the child who, despite the hardship and struggle, managed to be one of the best students. I wanted to meet him in person, I watched as he wrote a letter to Filipa, his sponsor in ALG in London; I discovered his good writing skills and firm handwriting, a boy with a bright head and a future ahead of him. "Our Belide will be one of our university scholarship holders" we all said and believed proudly.
Last year he began skipping days at the Centre where he received adequate food and medical assistance... well into his teens, he already wanted to stay with the older kids in the school´s common playground. We built a football field at the Centre, thinking of fragile kids just like him less attracted by the Centre, and won him back again. They ran after a soccer ball and in turn received their medical care and a good meal. And then they went back to study, their only solution. “HIV is not going to win! Look at Belide!”
When they appear, ALG ‘s daily setbacks always seem huge. It is communications with the ground that come late, it is donors who disappear without donating, it is flat tires on dirt roads when ALG technicians are trying to reach a sick family... it is weeks just like this past one, preparing emails over emails to respect European GDPR privacy data… It is grown up problems.
But today, Friday the 18th May, Belide passed away. Over the past two months he was more absent, not feeling well, on and off the local and respected Carmelo hospital. The news that came from the hospital, so far way, seemed so close and touched us very deeply. We asked them to be more specific. We wanted to know if it was a tuberculosis crisis that affects so many other children at the HIV Day Care Centre, or another unknown illness. But does it really matter... What matters is that our future scholarship holder, a bright mind and loving brother to little Maria, Belide is no longer with us. What matters is that we can no longer look at Belide.
It matters the effort our donors make in helping us to build our projects, the hours of laborious work ALG Local Partners spend on the ground fighting against a relentless reality. It matters the years ALG has been trying to save vulnerable children. And it matters that we cannot give up, because HIV must not win. The lack of education and opportunity must not win. Poverty is not going to win.
Because day by day other children like Belide will be scholarship holders with the great help of ALG friends and sponsors.
Our setbacks no longer seem so small, nor the happiness so constant.
Today we lost Belide, and it is not a happy day for ALG.
In 2017, your support to ALG helped c. 2’500 beneficiaries, mainly underprivileged children, many of them orphan and vulnerable. We continue growing mainly with the help of Volunteers and minimal administrative costs. We rely mostly upon our friends’ word of mouth and on ALG’s Friends and Friendly Companies fund raising campaigns to limit headquarters’ expenditures. Our heartfelt THANK YOU to all!
Since our launch in 2005 up to 2017, ALG and our sister charity UPG Portugal registered in Sponsoring initiatives:
· £1.2 MM generously raised by you
· £1.1 MM already invested on the field benefiting UPG Sponsored children in Xai-Xai, Chokwé and Chongoene
·In 2017 alone, we supported 877 children through direct, individual and loving sponsoring initiatives.
Over a decade ago, ALG has been developing, jointly with our sister charity Um Pequeno Gesto, local Projects that strengthen our support to sponsored children. This year our projects more than 50% were Education projects (from Pre-schools to University Scholarships), 20% were Infra-structure projects such as Family housing, and 20% Poverty relief initiatives such as our HIV Day Care Centre.
Since 2005, your Great Help has totalled:
· £2.1 MM raised between 2005-2016, £2.4 MM2005-2017YTD
· £1.6 MM invested on the field between 2005-2016, £1.8 MM 2006-2017YTD
In 2018, we want to enlarge the ALG family, continue investing in our children’s Education, secure the School Meals Programme and the HIV Day Care Centre at SLM School. We want to launch more Income Generation Programmes, support extremely underprivileged families and children and break the cycle of poverty step-by-step.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH to everyone who enable us to fulfil ALG’s dream of improving the lives of children, families, youngsters and elderly in Mozambique. Every Little Gesture Helps!
ALG’s local technicians are vital for our fieldwork. They are
mainly young, hardworking underprivileged youngsters, who are the connecting
link between the Headquarters’ administrative needs and Local Partners, who are
very present and well respected, but also extremely busy with other community
Each technician is crucial for ALG’s work. In Chokwé, the hardworking
Jaime (SVP school) and Orcídio (SLM school, with Cristóvão’s support) intensify
our intervention in large schools with several projects in place. At ALG
pre-schools, hired in 2017, we have Abel at EFI and Cremilde at ESC who took on
their new responsibilities with joy and expertise. In Chongoene we have Arnaldo
– himself a promotor of ALG’s IT centre – and in Xai-Xai we have Hélder – one
of our newest graduates, in Law! These technicians provide support and
tenderness to children who have been growing up with us for the past years.
Every one of them provides us details of the children they know so well,
pictures of happy faces and reports on an unsustainable hut which makes us want
to build a house... we could not forget our dear Hilario, ALG’s
General Coordinator and a friendly voice guiding all these youngsters. This
Summer, Hilário gathered all the technicians in order to truly assess the
difficulties and joys of working with ALG on the field. These meetings will
happen again because at ALG we want you to be at your best to help our children
which are at such a long distance!
ALG invited the Portuguese NGO ColorADD
to visit our operations in Chokwè in February 2017, including the SVP and the
SLM school projects.
Between the 19th and the 28th February, a ColorADD team made their
initial visit from what ALG expects to develop into a long-term partnershipbetween the two
charities. This visit by team leaders Bárbara Neiva and Joao Santos included a
recognition visit, the distribution of ColorAdd kits (bag, pencil and activity
books) and awareness raising towards color-blindness. ColorAdd has developed a
color identification system through a code that allows color-blind people to be
inserted into society.
During this visit the team ran a screening of all the children in the
HIV Centre with a report fully available for consultation and photos here. The children were thrilled with
all the attention and both parties concluded this was a mutually enriching
experience to be repeated over the medium-term!
A TESTIMONIAL FROM
“We went looking for the smile inside a child's eyes... we
came back with a lot of colourful glances and with a full heart! From Escola
Santa Luísa de Marillac to the Day Centre for HIV positive children, we were
always welcomed with open arms and were able to share experiences with almost
1000 children and their teachers, carried out colour-blindness screenings,
offered ColorADD kits with school material... but, more than that, we touched
and were touched by the generosity of every single person who accompanied us in
this adventure. For now, we have the certainty of wanting to go back and the
promise that we will go back... there are many other smiles to colour!!! A
strong and heartfelt thank you to all those who helped us make this crusade
possible. To UPG/ALG (Um Pequeno Gesto/A Little Gesture), who supported us from
the beginning and accompanied us on the field through its Director, Anabela
Nina, its Volunteers and its Local Technicians... from all we received the strength
to go on doing more and better... and we will!!! Color is for All!!!
ON THE HIV CENTRE
“Which child marked us more? ALL! For themselves and for the incredible
work being performed by ALG and the Vicentine Sisters in the Centre!!!
If we have to chose, me Barbara I chose Helio Machavane, a hyper sensitive, creative and intelligent boy,
and Marcia, incredibly docile though naughty, very independent. Mano Joao was
surrendered to Lavinesse, to her
sweetness and intelligence.”
Barbara Neiva, ColorADD, March 2017 Donate to ALG now!
This year it was Vírginia, Olga and Pedro turn to drop everything and travel to discover a new and unknown reality. They flew to Mozambique where they got in touch with new scents, new flavours, a new culture and new people who, with so little, can give so much. They did an outstanding job at SLM and SVP. Their activities focused on the pre-school, on supporting the technical courses, the children at the Day Care Centre, the study support initiatives and by setting up the Three Mosquiteers challenge.
During this Christmas season at headquarters we had, as per usual, our volunteers providing a great support, helping out with the Christmas post cards which bring so much joy to the UPG Sponsors. Thank you Manuela and Muno.
To the more than 30 volunteers who help us with our daily tasks, our heartfelt Thank You.
This year UPG Portugal, took a major step forward by acquiring the Salesforce CRM to improve our management skills, this help is still precious to us, so come and join us!! (contact us at:email@example.com).
Hokwé’s children entered an UPG sponsoring programme, in boarding
school regime, between 2011 and 2016. By the end of 2016, the 4 youngsters
concluded the 12th grade and moved on to the ALG Technical-University
Artimisa entered a Civil Service technical course, with an ALG
scholarship aimed at students who wish to attend shorter and intermediate level
courses. Anselmo, Pedro and Adriano received an ALG University Scholarship and
are attending the Human Resources Degree!
This was a year of adaptation, Artimisa is living with the
Vincentian sisters, ALG local partners, and the boys ae sharing a house! They
are all living in Chokwé and we are so proud of their first steps into
In 2016, ALG strengthened the After-School Support snack at SVP
(São Vicente Paulo school), an after-school programme providing a much-needed
academic support to UPG Portugal sponsored children. In a year of huge draught
and shortage, our meals were reinforced with rice and beans.
Because this initiative was so successful, in 2017 we asked
to continue providing this help! ALG began by providing 2 meals per week in
After-School Support, varying between beans and greens. In return we have
healthier and more motivated children, eager to learn more, and even bigger
With £2'575 in SVP – average £11student/year – ALG finances instructors to provide after school support mainly
for the subjects of Maths and Portuguese, occasional school materials and lunch
– a key factor to ensure attendance
At SLM this programme has an
annual cost of £564, providing only a snack
– at this school children already benefit from free lunch with the ALG School