Monday, December 10, 2018

Day 10 – Getting to Work at S. Catarina Pre-school

In 2018 , our St. Catarina pre-school, in Chongoene, had loads of positive energy.  By getting to work and with over £2´500 raised within the ALG family, we managed to provide a more comfortable and safer space for our tiny children to grow up. We installed new windows and doors, we decorated the walls with colourful drawings, and the4t! school had power installed for the first time … what a difference it makes!

It was a laborious and eventful period regarding the choice of materials, elaborating budgets and gathering labour. But, in the end, it all turned out perfectly! It would not be possible without the help of our Local Partner and our incredible Local Technician, Teacher Cremilde, who was relentless and 100% dedicated to ALG.

We also relied upon the precious help of paint company CIN Mozambique which enabled us to produce such colourful and diverse drawings with paints at a very special and friendly price.

Our ESC pre-school is looking brand new and bursting with good vibes – it is a huge success! 

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Sunday, December 9, 2018

Day 9 – A new member in the SVP Study Room

Pedro Arão has been with ALG for 6 years. He’s successfully progressing with his Human Resources Management course since 2017 as an ALG University Scholarship Holder.
This August we were filled with pride when Pedro became an ALG volunteer! To show his gratitude for the support provided, Pedro is assisting our After-class Study Support programme as an After-Class Study Room monitor at S. Vicente Paulo school. This project welcomes on a weekly basis 225 students, from year 2 to year 12,  who receive academic support on rotational basis. Besides helping with Maths, Portuguese or Science, ALG also provides a lunch when children attend the class as well as and career guidance. 
Pedro is loving the experience and shared his feelings with us: “I’m so thankful for this opportunity, I hope you are also happy with my performance in carrying out an activity which is so dear to me. Besides being proud of all the children, I also learn from their experiences.”

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Saturday, December 8, 2018

Day 8 – Soaps in SLM made by our Sisters

Our Local Partners in Chokwe are the Vicentine Sisters Daughters of Charity, both in the SLM and SVP schools. These Sisters are entrepreneurial, with an admirable skill to CREATE. For the Basic Baskets distributed every month to the 156 children sponsored in SLM by our Portuguese sister-charity, soap is part of the baskets and has several uses (to do the laundry, the dishes and personal hygiene).
The Sisters in Santa Luisa de Marillac had the great idea of learning how to produce soap and in the process creating jobs for several local moms in the community. Instead of buying to other suppliers the Sisters are now making artisanal soap themselves!
In 2019 the purpose of this initiative is to increase production in order to include these artisanal soaps also in the basic basket of the neighbouring school at São Vicente de Paulo, a total of 228 baskets each month!

ALG supported this initiative enthusiastically within the spirit of income generation and female entrepreneurship it is a great idea!

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Friday, December 7, 2018

Day 7 – Special Care for Children at the Day Centre

Throughout the year ALG has welcomed a new staff member – please meet Ácio our Psychologist! Ácio is a young Mozambican who, after a month of volunteer work in our Santa Luisa Marillac school, joined the SLM HIV Day Centre in September for a period of 3 months. Ácio continued his exceptional work with the children at the HIV Day Centre – a centre that secures medical care, meals and follow up to school attendance & academics for HIV infected children.
Ácio organised not only group sessions with the 34 children at the Day Centre, but also individual sessions aimed at the 4 children who displayed a clinical framework than was frailer than average.
ALG has been witnessing the professional evolution of our Local Technicians and the positive outcome of team work. Mano Orcídio, our Local Technician for almost 4 years at SLM, and an ALG University scholarship holder, welcomed Ácio. For Orcídio, who accumulates several roles in what is ALG’s biggest single intervention programme – the SLM school offers Sponsoring, School Feeding, HIV Centre, After Class Study Support, and the ocasional build of family huts or other small infrastructure ... – Ácio’s extra help was a wonderful surprise! Here’s what Orcídio said about his mate Ácio...

"To be honest on his first day in Manjangue I doubted his skills. Thankfully, he was much better than I anticipated, he’s willing to work, he has lots of creativity and self-esteem. Working with children from a different community is not easy, but he’s able to deal with everyone and, in fact, children love Mano Ácio. It is very rare to find a young man with this type of behaviour. He puts into practice what he learned at school, revealing that what really matters to him is knowledge and not only having a diploma. Mano Orcídio Edú”

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Thursday, December 6, 2018

Day 6 – Presents Creating Smiles

Over the years we decided to ask our generous sponsors not to post packages with presents to our local operations, as they often take too long to arrive but mostly because many times they don’t arrive at all. Another reason we try to avoid packaging is due to the high cost of collecting the parcel at the local post offices.

As a solution we have created a BIRTHDAY FUND to our children. This fund varies according to the years, but it always includes a few useful articles for the children: in the past it included a backpack, school material or a mat. This package is locally prepared to be delivered to the child and, besides creating smiles, it is another way of encouraging the local economy. We always send the donors a picture of the children with their gifts. 
If the donors wish to give a more personal gift, we have the EXTRA SPONSORING option: each child sponsor transfers the desired amount for the intended present, and the ALG Local Technician and the child’s family then visit the local shops and buy the present they need and like: Happy times! This event is documented with pictures that are shared with the donor in question.

These two possibilities are reaching out more children every year. At our Charity we believe this is the best alternative for our numerous generous donors who wish to celebrate our children´s special occasions with joy!

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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Day 5 – Charity in Style for everyone!

The MZ Line by ALG is a charitable handcrafted cool line! It has several accessories with diverse and colourful typical Mozambican patterns, applied to bracelets, straw bags, clutches, pillows, beach towels, etc.  All the straw articles are hand-made in Mozambique, by basketry masters from Inhambane. The bracelets are made by our very talented Custódia, a young hard working and underprivileged Mozambican girl. Since day one Custódia sources locally for ALG the straw articles and the wonderful and colourful capulanas (traditional patterned cloth) which we include in all of our articles. 
This year we continued making a statement with this charitable line through our online store in Facebook and more recently through a partnership with The Fair Bazaar. Isn’t it amazing to be fashionable and help at the same time?

Check out all our articles here, just in time for Xmas!

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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Day 4 – Fresh water for 900 little ones

This year the largest individual ALG project – SLM School Feeding - ensured that on a daily basis more than 900 tummies were full and not thirsty! Our large SLM School Feeding program provides a daily meal for the 908 students from Year 1 to Year 7 currently enrolled in the St. Luísa Marillac School (“SLM”), village of Manjangue, which is 20 km from Chokwé city.
The free school meals have as key goals to incentivise school attendance, to improve child academic performance as well as to nurture their cognitive and motor development. In 2018, the project cost ALG c.£24.000 of full year financing. Together with the Vicentine Ssters our Local Partners in the school, we approved exciting upgrades that make a difference in the daily lives of our children. This year we acquired our first freezer to keep the menu produce fresh , a gigantic kitchen table to prepare hundreds of daily meals, but… the nicest upgrade was the colorfoul new jars and water glasses that allow the 900 children to have access to drinkable water at lunch time!
This water comes from the Sisters’ fresh water polytank that also benefited from some much-needed maintenance works late this year in order to guarantee better health& safety conditions.
In 2018, lunch time started to be calmer as organised canteen queues started to be implemented better manage the entry and sitting-down periods. Besides the collaboration on the school teachers side, our volunteers on the ground had a fundamental role in the implementation of a more organized system to serve meals to such a large crowd of hungry children.  
With the collaboration of everyone and with team work, the SLM School Feeding programme ends 2018 with happier, more dignified and more complete lunches  – with full plates and glasses!

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Monday, December 3, 2018

Day 3 – Need an Electrician? Talk to ALG!

This April we revealed a new success case with Nelson Venâncio Mathe, one of the children under our intervention in the Chokwé region. For 4 months Nelson attended an Electricity Technical Course, sponsored by ALG at the SPV school facilities and certified by the Mozambique state. 
Enthusiastic and dedicated, Nelson has started to provide basic energy installation services in several homes. As a beginner he charges an average of 500-1800mt (c.£6.5 - £23) per job. Alongside these services of energy installation, Nelson is also able to repair several small household appliances. And he also continues to study, currently attending Year 9.
Nelson is very happy – and so are we – as with the skills provided by this technical course he has been able to help his mother increase the family income with his small contribution. On several occasions Nelson has teamed up with Elídio Sitoe (another ALG child who successfully enrolled at these courses) and together they have been repairing irons and kettles in their neighbourhoods.
Congratulations Nelson and Elídio, we are very proud of you!!

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Sunday, December 2, 2018

Day 2 - Belide our Resilient Little Hero

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 one of our donorsl gives us a word of encouragement and show us how happy they are for supporting a vulnerable child… 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 some many little faces that show sadness and happiness at the same time, that are hungry but positive, who have aching bodies from years of deprivation, but also bright eyes full of hope just like every child growing up. Resistant. Resilient. Little heroes.
But Belide wasn’t just another face. He stayed in my memory as a child who, despite being an orphan, was also, along with his little sister Maria, HIV infected.
In May our dear Belide passed away. During the previous two months he didn’t show up at the Centre, was feeling poorly and ended up being hospitalized in Carmelo Hospital. The news that came from the hospital, so far way, touched us very closely. We asked them to be more specific. We wanted to know if it was a tuberculosis just like happens with so many other children at the HIV Day Centre, or another unknown illness. But it does not matter! What matters is that our future scholarship holder, a bright mind, and Maria’s loving brother is no longer with us. What matters is that we can no longer look at Belide.
What matters is the effort our donors make in helping us build our projects, the hours of laborious work ALG Local Partners spend on the ground fighting against a relentless reality. What matters is the years ALG has been trying to save vulnerable children. And we cannot give up, because HIV is not going to prevail. The lack of education and of opportunity is not going to prevail. Poverty is not going to prevail. Because one day at a time, other children just like Belide will have the chance to grow up strong and healthy and one day they will be university scholarship holders with the great help of ALG friends and sponsors.
Even on days like the one ALG experienced in May, setbacks no longer seem so small, nor joy that constant.

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Saturday, December 1, 2018

Day 1 – A Happy Colourfull Children’s Day

In Mozambique Children´s Day in June is ALWAYS special, and this year it was no different - full of colour and joy for our little ones!  
Together with our sister charity UPG Portugal, on this day we made each of our sponsored children feel special with a gift.  On some of our programmes the present was a colourful and funny Emoji cushion really appreciated by the children, for others the choice was to give much needed cups to drink water or tea, while on other programmes the children received a few school treats!
The choice of presents was made by our dedicated Local Partners and we, at Headquarters, on behalf of the Sponsors, were very enthusiastic to approve these ideas! Because these boys and girls are so dear to us …
You wouldn’t believe the excitement in Xai-Xai and Chokwé when our General Coordinator - Hilario Langa arrived carrying hundreds of smiley cushions in such a brightful tones of yellow!!

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