Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Day 25. This year with your small gesture in the UK and Portugal, ALG supported 1533 children. THANK YOU VERY MUCH AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!

In 2012, our Portuguese sister-charity directly supported 833 children through the individual Sponsoring programme. Each child is guaranteed access to school and a monthly basic basket, or lunch, depending on the project. Besides the material goods the children feel nurtured and important because there is someone, many miles away, who thinks about them, who transforms their life every month and supports their feeding and educational costs.
Although Sponsoring is very important, the Projects area is complementing it and growing, especially since the launch of ALG in the UK in 2011. Projects are important to “provide” the tools, to teach the families and children how to live better and to develop their competences for sustainability.

In 2012, in the Education area, ALG and UPG supported two pre-schools with 120 children, with ages between 3 and 5. We provided study support to 120 youngsters, full of will to study; and we have around 100 children learning trades in skills-based courses. We helped 10 students with scholarships to fulfil their dream of going to university. We also guaranteed school feeding for 120 orphans at the CRPE.

In Infrastucture, we built 10 family huts many of which fully financed by individuals, to the benefit of 40 people. We are on the final stages of opening 2 water wells, a significant financial effort for ALG this year, improving the life of 1’250 people.
Thank you to all of you who with your Little Gestures make the ALG dream come true – to improve the living conditions of underprivileged children and their families in 2012!

Merry Christmas!!


Monday, December 24, 2012

Day 24. At the Orphan Centre CRPE and at S. Luísa Marillac School skills-based courses bring a promise to the future

The ALG skills-based courses break the cycle of poverty and sustain the local economy. ALG finances technical courses like sewing, carpentry, locksmith, IT, cooking, arts & crafts, fabric painting and the production of soap.

At the Orphan Centre CRPE children have carpentry, locksmith, IT and sewing classes to improve future employability; while at S. Luisa de Marillac the skills-based courses are focused around domestic activities such as cooking, sewing, agriculture, arts & crafts, painting of fabrics and the production of soap. These classes “give” the children and youngsters tools to allow them to be self-sufficient in future.

ALG wants to ensure a sustainable future for these children. In 2012 around 100 children attended the skills-based courses!

The Orphanage in CRPE is the focus of our Xmas Campaign in 2012. Donate now!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Day 23. Our Elderly Fund will bring fish and blankets to the Christmas of twelve elderly people in 2012

The Elderly Fund was born out of the will and concern of Sister Aparecida, a Local ALG Partner in the Chongoene area. She asked us to support the elderly people isolated in the rural areas. These elderly generally have health problems and Sister Aparecida always found time to check on them and to see if they needed anything. Thus, on a meeting with ALG she mentioned her concern for this group and we decided to help them.

Thanks to a regular donor in Portugal it is possible to guarantee the financing of feeding expenses for these twelve elderly people. Every month, Sister Aparecida visits them and gives them a basic basket with rice, sugar, peanuts, oil, pieces of soap, beans, tea, corn, salt, chicken or fish, bread, batteries for their radios and sometimes juice.

These elderly people’s joy for receiving a monthly visit from someone who can help them is indescribable!


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Day 22. And because Christmas is also about giving your heart to others, a great thank you to all the ALG Volunteers!

1st week: “When entering the teacher asked my name and I replied: “Diogo”. All of a sudden he was teaching the children (about 9 or 10) how to say my name. Then, like a church choir, the whole class was chanting: Diogo! Diogo! Diogo! It was lovely and I felt welcomed. “

2nd week: “On Thursday I felt truly useful to the centre. After lunch I saw about 10 children running towards me and saying “Diogo, we want to colour with you!” Uau!! As soon as I nodded a huge smile appeared in their faces and they were thrilled to get pencils, pens, paper etc… After colouring I taught the class how to fold a sheet of paper in half to make a paper boat. They coloured them and when I started to put them up in the wall with the drawings they made the smiles appeared again. I counted 25 children in the room. Since my arrival I had never seen so many!”

Final week: “The days are passing by and a week from packing, there is an endless will to enjoy every moment and to do as much as possible… During this week I had to write down individual files for the children just to collect some data regarding their family structure and their progress in school. I was shocked with the number of children that did not know even know how old they were…  Actually, many of them are not even registered. They are... no one. Fortunately some had older brothers, cousins or neighbours who could tell us something about them…

The major difference between a good student here and in Europe is that the Mozambican student does not have anyone encouraging him/her to study, to learn. All he/she achieved is due to his/her work and a LOT of sacrifice. I have always lived in a school and family environment in which I was rewarded and comforted while learning. When I lost my motivation I had colleagues, teachers and parents surrounding me, giving me incentive, and giving me the will to continue and not to give up. Here this does not happen!
                               By Diogo Sassetti, ALG (Portugal) Volunteer at CRPE in 2012


Friday, December 21, 2012

Day 21: The heart-warming Teacher Zaida teaches children to read and write under an almond tree

Zaida Miguel Macarringue is 23 and attends 12th grade at Chongoene’s Secondary School. She is a beautiful young girl and always has a warm smile on her face!

Zaida being such a hard working student, our Local Partner Sister Aparecida thought she would be ideal to support the ALG children’s studies. So she decided to offer her lunch alongside the children from the ALG pre-school ESC. Every day, under an almond tree, between 1pm and 3pm, the older children learn to improve their reading and writing skills.

Zaida lives by herself and has a malformation on her feet and legs. She has to move on her hands and knees. But nothing stops her from dedicating her time to the children! When we are next to Zaida there is always a feeling of contagious joy as this great little woman teaches us a great lesson of life.

Khanimambo “Teacher” Zaida!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Day 20: Mamma Claudina finally managed to set up her own business

In Mozambique 70% of the population live with less than 2 dollars a day. Most of the rural area families are dedicated to agriculture but only for their own consumption. In 2012, we started to finance some Mums willing to have a business of their own and thus become self-sufficient.

In S. Luisa de Marillac the pilot-project was started with 4 Moms; one of them is Mum Claudina Tivane. Claudina has 4 children all at school. One of them, Ester, is sponsored by ALG’s Portuguese sister-charity. Mum Claudina used to go to work in her vegetable patch when it rained in order to grow something to feed her children. This family is composed of six people and no one had an income. We financed this mom to develop a business and now Claudina sells cloths, scarves, flip-flops, shoes, etc.

With around £100 it is possible to help a Mum set up her own business to feed her children. We want to break the cycle of local poverty!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Day 19: At the Orphan Centre CRPE up to 120 children receive free lunch every day

At the CRPE Orphan Centre around 120 orphan children are fed on a daily basis. Many of these children live on their own or under the care of distant relatives or neighbours.

The children receive 2 meals a day, financed by ALG – one of porridge for the group of 30 smaller children, and lunch for the whole group. The type of food respects the individual religious beliefs, which differ a lot - “The menu is not easy to put together since some children do not eat animals with four legs, others do not eat fish, and there are also some that do not eat animals with two legs.” Nevertheless, they all eat beans and vegetables. The meals are mainly composed by chicken, vegetables, beans and timbauene with rice or porridge. The children also have a glass of juice.

ALG’s Campaign of the Month in June was dedicated to ensure the feeding of the 120 orphan children who depend on the CRPE to eat. During the campaign, the solidarity race JP Challenge in London raised over £6’500. What a joy to be able to maintain these essential meals in 2012!

The new Orphanage in CRPE - a home for 20 children - is the focus of our Xmas Campaign 2012. Donate here!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Day 18: This Christmas brothers Ubisse will be warmer in their sleep! Thank you ALG Challenges!

The ALG Challenges help YOU helping us! Maria Borge and Belide’s sponsors decided to celebrate their daughter’s B. 1st anniversary in big style: raising funds for ALG.

With our support, they challenged their friends to exchange their daughter’s presents for useful gifts for their sponsored children in Mozambique. The presents ranged from buckets to a mattress, toothpaste and pillows. Brothers Ubisse’s home is more beautiful and comfortable than ever!

The brothers live with their aunt who has health problems and can only tender their vegetable patch when she feels well enough. They both have AIDS and their life has been quite difficult.

But this Christmas brothers Ubisse will be warm and full of joy because they received these gifts and know that somewhere in the world there is someone looking out for them and wishing the best for them!

Thank you to the Sponsors and followers of our ALG Challenges!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Day 17: Pre-School EFI got new chairs to brighten up the daily life of children!

In 2010 ALG managed to fulfil the dream to build EFI - Flor da Infância pre-school with the help of a benefactor. The new building was inaugurated in 2011 with 3 classrooms, an indoor pantry, an office and an indoor toilet.

The Flor da Infância pre-school was built with the purpose of allowing pre-school age children to learn, particularly orphans, vulnerable children and the ones who had no financial means to attend pre-school. The ALG pre-schools intend to reduce the number of children wandering in the streets, occupying their time and providing them a minimum of subsistence.

In our two pre-schools there is still a lot to be financed because the number of children is huge and the classes continue to grow! This year an ALG Corporate Friend offered chairs and tables for the children’s classrooms. They are cheerful and colourful and stimulate teaching because children concentrate better if they are not sitting on the floor.

Thank you to all who, in some way, contribute for the well being of Mozambican children! 
Would you like to be an ALG Corporate Friend?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Day 16: In 2012, Mozambique received 200 packages. Thank you volunteers from TAP Air Portugal!

The shipping of donated goods to Mozambique is extremely difficult and expensive. Logistics wise it is impossible to send objects through a container, since the fees are very expensive and, afterwards, transportation will be needed to carry the donations to the ALG local centres which are located over 150 miles from Maputo.
Considering this situation, a free alternative was found through the volunteers of the Portuguese carrier, TAP, on their frequent direct flights to Maputo. The TAP aircrew offers space in their luggage to take the presents that the sponsors want to offer to their sponsored child as well as clothes and donated goods for the local community.
Thanks to the TAP volunteers it is possible to reach families who live in poverty and have no resources to purchase this type of goods. Up to now 200 packages and 45 parcels were sent and delivered! Thank you TAP Volunteers!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Day 15: Sousa is 9 and thanks to the ALG After-School classrooms already learned the alphabet letters

In Mozambique only 44% of students finish primary school and only 20% of students go to secondary school. ALG finances study rooms in Chongoene, S. Vicente de Paulo, S. Luisa de Marillac and at CRPE to provide the children with After-School centres where they can develop and strengthen their learning process.

Sousa is a good example of this initiative. He was going to attend primary school this year, but because it was the end of the year there were no vacancies. Thus, he started to attend the After-school classroom in Chongoene and after several intensive weeks and follow-up by our local volunteers, Sousa began to learn the alphabet.

The ALG Campaign to support the After-School study rooms took place in September. With only 50p it is possible to ensure a space to study, a snack and a teacher.

It is also the focus of our first ever school partnership in the UK. Thank you Oakwood School!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Day 14: In S. Catarina pre-school, regular and balanced nutrition cured Rui’s anaemia

In Mozambique only 4% of children have access to pre-school education, mainly in urban areas. 50% of the Mozambican population is composed by children who live in rural areas. ALG finances two pre-schools, in Chongoene and Xai-Xai, helping around 120 children between 3 and 6 years of age.

Rui de Jesus Muianga is 4; he lives with an elderly and ill grandmother. His mother abandoned him when he was just a baby. Rui is the living example of the urgent need of a service such as sponsored pre-schools.

Before attending pre-school he was diagnosed with serious anaemia and had several relapses. Today he has breakfast – tea/milk and bread with jam – and has lunch at pre-school.

This year in March, the Month of Milk, our campaign raised over £650! With this amount it was possible to guarantee more than one year of milk supplies for pre-schools. These are examples of Little Gestures that allow children like Rui to have proper nourishment for their age!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Day 13: Joana got a bicycle and will take less time to get to school

“My name is Joana Júlio Zacarias Mubai; I was born in Xai-Xai. I live in district B in Xai-Xai. I am 19 years old and I’m on the 12th grade. I thank ALG and my sponsor all they have done for me.

My life before ALG was sad and very difficult. I went to school but my results were poor due to my life conditions. I couldn’t eat properly and my mother is unemployed. To feed us she had to work hard on the plot, and sometimes we went to sleep feeling hungry. We had no access to water or electrical power and to go to school I had to walk for a long distance.

Despite all this issues my mother never stopped looking after me. Since I became part of the ALG Sponsoring Project my life changed and my results at school improved greatly.

I also already have access to drinkable water and electrical power thanks to my Sponsor Helena Anahory and to ALG.

ALG is very important to me because they changed my life I also would like to thank my sponsor for everything she has done for me. God bless her and protect her and her family from harm. ALL THIS WAS ONLY POSSIBLE THANKS TO A LITTLE GESTURE (ALG)
A big hug to ALG and to my dear sponsor Helena Anahory”
By Joana Mubai

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Day 12: The life of children and families changes when they receive the monthly Basic Supplies Basket

In 2012 ALG’s sister charity in Portugal directly sponsored 833 children and their families! The Sponsorship finances school enrolment fees, school material, uniforms and the monthly Basic Supplies Basket.

The monthly Basic Supplies Basket, per family, is composed of 10kg of rice, 3kg of sugar, 2kg of peanuts, 1 litre of oil, 6 pieces of soap, 2kgs of beans, 250g of tea, 1 can of corn, 1 kg of salt and one chicken.

The families who receive this support vary between 5 to 10 people per household, and 2 children per family receive sponsorship. Usually, the families include children who have lost at least one of the parents.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Day 11: After a sad childhood, Amosse found peace and joy at the Orphan Centre CRPE

Amosse, a child with a chilling life story, arrived to the CRPE Orphan Centre in April this year. 

After being beaten by his family he was abandoned at the Centre’s door. He was not able to talk, was very sad and thin and could not relate with the other children. Brother Licínio, our Local Partner and in charge of the Centre, kept him and looked after him. After 4 months he already runs, dances and even sings. He is a different child and was literally saved!

ALG provides 2 meals a day to 120 children, a study room, carpentry, sewing and locksmith courses in the CRPE. 

Next year we would like to extend the support and finance the construction of a small Orphanage in CRPE, providing an accommodation infrastructure at the Centre. The purpose is to create boarding facilities for children between 14 and 18 years old who have good grades but who cannot have access to schools (usually in remote areas there are only schools up to the 7th or 8th grades).

Our Xmas campaign 2012 is focused on giving at least 20 orphans a new home!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Day 10: With three new ALG water holes in Chongoene, women and children no longer walk several km to get water

1.250 people will soon have drinking water and the women will no longer have to walk several miles to bring water to their houses.

Surveys in 2008 showed that only 43% of the population had access to drinking water and 19% to basic sanitation.  The situation in rural areas is more serious: only 30 % of the population in rural areas have access to drinking water and 6% to proper sanitation vs. 70% and 47% in urban ones.

Water scarcity is very serious in the Chongoene region. Our Local Partner Father Rosendo, ALG and Cáritas worked together to identify the villages that needed a well more urgently. Along with the village survey, training was also provided to prepare the community on the well’s maintenance and functioning.

Two communities were identified, Bungane and Conjoene. Bungane had 3 wells and they were insufficient, especially during the Summer. Many people walked more than 2 hours to carry water from a small river, or if they took water from one of the wells they had to wait in line from 3 to 5 hours. ALG’s financing of a 4th well in late 2012 means that 3’568 people will now be covered with an adequate water source. Conjoene’s situation was equally problematic.

ALG wells already began to be drilled in Conjoene and Bungane. The happiness amongst the moms and families is amazing!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Day 9: Despite his accident, Azarias is the best student in class!

Azarias is 10, lives with his mother and 4 brothers and is included in our sponsored Escolinha do André project. 

In September he got burned with boiling water, but first aid was not immediately provided by his family. When the situation was know at Escolinha he was taken to the hospital were the doctor seeing the distress of the mother, sisters and Technicians, said that the burns were superficial and within a few days he could walk again.

When he came back from the hospital the ALG Technician Helder started to work with the little boy to help him with his movements. To his surprise he started to take a few steps as a result of his efforts.

Azarias is now well and managed to go to school without any help. He is recovering well from his knee burnts. At school he has the highest grades in Portuguese, Mathematic and skills based courses. His final average in 2011 was 14 (on a 0 to 20 scale).
Thank you Helder and Sisters from Escolinha do André for your effort and continuous fight for these children wellbeing!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Day 8: Always dedicated to her orphan little sister, Gelsea does not disregard the studies at the Orphan Centre CRPE

Gelsea and her one year old sister little sister Cateco are orphans. While only 11-years old, she looks after Cateco as if she was her mother and carries her around daily to the Orphan Centre CRPE.

The Orphan Centre CRPE is located in Chinhacanine, 30km from Chokwé. This day centre provides shelter, food and education support to some 160 children, mostly orphaned, with ages between 1 and 18 years old. The girls represent 57% of the centre population. These children go to the school on the other side of the road and live with older relatives under very poor economic conditions. Around 75 of these children live in 15 houses located in the proximity and built specially for these families.

Gelsea goes to the ALG after-class study room every day and carries her sister on her back while she tries to learn more. In the ALG study room they do maths and Portuguese exercises, they play, sing and have fun – all the things a child is entitled to!


Friday, December 7, 2012

Day 7: Victims of a fire, Flora and Alberto rebuilt their lives in a new home

Flora and Alberto live with their mum Verónica Mucavele, 38 years old, in Nhancutse, in the Chongoene area. Their older brother Neldo is 19 years old and lives with his uncle and aunt in Maputo where he attends 10th grade. Their home has a small plot where Mum Verónica grows corn, cassava and beans.

The family’s home was destroyed by a fire earlier this year and all their possessions disappeared... they lost everything. Mom Verónica had gone out to visit her mother who was ill, while her son, little Alberto Uqueio, stayed at home doing some tasks to help his mom. When Verónica returned home everything had burnt and all her few things too.

Mother and children slept in a small shed and received help from friends and neighbours. A classmate from school gave Alberto an old note book, already worn, but with some sheets left were Alberto could write down his lessons. Despite her difficulties Mom Verónica, was a volunteer in the local school and always said that it made her feel good.

In June this year, some dedicated donors accepted an ALG Challenge and launched a private fundraising campaign to build family huts. By auctioning a personal painting in a family shop and on Facebook they were able to fully finance the construction of Veronica’s new hut – so Flora and Alberto now have a proper house to live in!

Will YOU accept an ALG Challenge too?


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Day 6: “I’m so happy... now I can write my own name!” 103 young adults learn to read and write

The average illiteracy rate amongst the adult population in Mozambique is around 53.6%. It reaches higher rates in the rural areas (65.7%) – where ALG is more active – than in urban areas (30.3%) and it is more predominant in women (68%) than in men (36.7%).

This year, ALG started financing small Literacy Courses for adults in the Chongoene area. Following strong local demand, classes started in January in the communities of Conjoene and Banhine. The majority of moms attending the course have children being sponsored by ALG’s Portuguese sister-charity.

The ALG literacy courses are aimed at empowering local villagers to:
  • Learn and develop the use of the alphabet system of reading and writing, as well as basic mathematics
  • Engaged learning, i.e. students to think about their life story and what can change after the literacy course;
  • Development of personal, social and cultural skills.

Now moms start their day around 5 a.m. working in the village farms and after lunch they “run” home to change and go to the classes with a great joy, motivation and a contagious smile.

By the end of the program 35 moms were so enthusiastic with their learning that they requested to have sewing and arts & crafts classes next year. This will be a project to be financed in 2013!