Friday, February 22, 2013

Post Floods, Silvestre reports on his fantastic Youth Committee...

A new encouraging testimonial from Silvestre, our hard-working technician in SLM...

"Good evening,
I hope you are all well over there.
Over here life is moving slowly; always with our eyes set on the river, since the flow of Limpopo river increased and according to the water management technicians the water is being drained from South Africa in a controlled way in order to avoid problems.
We hope this information is true and God help us to avoid more disasters like this one.

In the report I mentioned the Young People Committee that I created last year and did not go through. This year just because I was here in Chinhacanine, trying to escape the flood in Chókwe, I managed to mobilize the youngsters to make this project come to life to develop this community. The flood victims were encouraged to rebuild in this safe area, and in a few days this project is becoming a reality. Now many people in this community have plots. Together with my team I’m still dividing the area distributing the land for the flood victims. 

Four days ago the district administrator came here to assess the work done and he was very pleased with the improvements. Yesterday he brought two territorial planning technicians from the District and two from the Gaza Province to help us to divide the plots for the families affected by the floods. And today we were also visited by a few military people who made themselves available to assist us in every way possible.

At the moment this Committee is composed by 15 young students and is called Hluvuka Chinhacanine Youth Organization (which means “Develop Chinhacanine”). The Committee’s mission is to work for the development of the community, in which the youngsters are included, as well as:
  1. Develop the Chinhacanine community in general and, afterwards help other young district people to develop their own communities;
  2. To organize an event that aims to end the violence against women, informing which institutions act in supporting the victims of violence;
  3. Promote an activity (sports/culture) for the improvement of women’s self-esteem, promoting their value and respect in all phases of their life cycle (childhood, adolescence, pregnancy, maternity, menopause and old age);
  4. Promote a campaign to stimulate young people to search for their socioeconomic development through education and work ;
  5. Organize a discussion forum, jointly with the Community Council and the Women’s Social Action Centre, to enlighten the population about the public services and current legislation in force to defend women;
  6. Promote a conference (preferably held by a man) to raise the awareness of men regarding the sharing of domestic chores, responsible parenthood and intolerance for any kind of violence towards women and children;
  7. Disseminate HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases  fighting and prevention methods;
  8. Build improved toilets in all the Chinhacanine community households, since they have been using the streets to relief themselves, this has triggered the appearance of cholera and other diseases;
  9. Study, elaborate, analyse and propose actions, projects, policies; strategies and guidelines that allow the integration and participation of children, adolescents and young men and women in the educational, social, environmental, political and cultural processes;
  10. Ensure the sustainability of the Committee implementing income generation projects to benefit their members  and the Committee itself; 

And a lot more...
I hope to be able to provide more information about this dream that is coming true!

Thank you!
Silvestre Quenha"

Our Emergency Fund is still open!

Help our emergency appeal by making your donation here

Every Little Gesture Counts!        

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mozambique Floods - Testimonial from Sister Lidia at S Luisa Marilac

Week of 4 - 8 february

"The waters have lowered here in Manjangue, before they did in Chokwe town, and immediately we started cleaning up. Sister Maria do Ceu led the efforts and as soon as the families started returning she tried to include some mothers and students in the operation. It is very hard work as everything is covered in mud and clay. Clothes and papers are difficult to use again. Much has been saved: computers, photocopiers, student documents. Everything left at street level was taken by the waters. As the children escaped from the waters, many of their school uniforms, clothes and school material are gone too. There is a terrible hunger situation now. With the support we received we bought food supplies and we are supporting the children in worst situation, HIV patients and the ones left alone with elderly grandmothers withot any confitions.

Sister Esperanca (a nurse) is giving assistance to the patients, in their homes and in Brother Licinio, at the CRPE Orphan Centre. They are taking their medication correctly, she controls it very well. We will see everyone's recovery, everything will take a while. But we are very united and with courage. now we have to work on solidarity to be able to start life all over again

I feel very sorry for Sister Neusa at SVP school. The water in that area (S. Vicente Paulo-Chokwe) was really too much and arrived with no warning. There was no time to salvage anything or stock in higher places. Cleaning is still in progress as the water took a long time to lower. We will keep you informed as to the evolution within the next few days. We are faithfully hoping that situation will not get ugly again. In fact the news we keep received sometimes are contradictory as to a new opening of the dams.

As to S. Luisa Marillac, when we start school again, we would like to start feeding a daily soup to the children. They have no food at all nor means and the money to buy it with. The only available place for “shopping” and were some goods are available is in Macia (60kms away). All is gone with the floods.

United in our prayers and mutual help"
Ir. Lidia

Friday, February 8, 2013

Life beyond the Floods - ALG Literacy report

"In 2012 we launched the ALG literacy courses with 49 women and 2 men in Banhine. In Conjoene, a total of 70 people joined with just 7 men in the group. A fantastic initiative for local women emancipation! Out of this total, only 6 gave up, 5 of them in Banhine. 

We can therefore conclude that the course was a success last year as assiduity was very high and only 14 people did not pass the final exam (8 Banhine and 6 Conjoene).

The teachers have reported an immense pleasure in teaching this group. They have shown good aptitude for numbers, with the basic maths classes very well received and the students showing good progress in addition, multiplication, division and problem solving. In portuguese classes, the official language, they have evidenced high interest in writing and reading, with slower progress in interpretation of text.

Both the teachers and us monitors evaluate this initiative in a very positive way, as it is very difficult to transform people who did not know a thing of how to read and write to become literate. It is very satisfactory as we did not expect the programme to be such a success and it went well beyond our initial expectations. By the end of the year, the students, who having grown up uneducated normally only speak the local dialect changana, were already discussing in portuguese in the middle of the classroom. 

One issue to report was the balance between their studies and their home chores - during crop season there was a noticeable increase in the number of students skipping classes.

The district educational authorities, who partnered with ALG on this project, have reported to be very encouraged by the results so far. Putting an adult in literacy course and giving them an opportunity to change his life for the better.
In accordance with the local school calendar, the literacy course started on the 11th february and finished on the 16th November, with exams running on the 20 to 26 February. There were some delays in the process such as the procurement of books and exam sheets. Otherwise the ALG investment was very positive and encouraging."

by Issufo, ALG monitor to the literacy courses in the Conjoene and Banhine area

While we wanted to update you on life beyond the ongoing floods crisis, our Emergency Fund is still open

Help our emergency appeal by making your donation here

Every Little Gesture Counts!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

So much happening in Chokwe!

Sister Neusa is being evacuated to Maputo again and the other Vicentine Sisters from Chokwe are returning to Carmelo Hospital one more time. Sister Lidia and the Sisters in Manjangue have refused to leave again. At Carmelo Hospital thousands of refugees are being helped with the support of Medicos Sem Fronteiras (the local arm of Medecins Sans Frontieres).

Yesterday Hilario went to the Hokwe project but the children where studying already so he intends to return. He informed us that people are leaving Chokwe again as authorities in South Africa intend to open the dams again. 

In Mount Chirrundzo, around the Orphan Centre CRPE, a makeshift hospital has been organised with the support of a Medecin Sans Frontieres. Tomorrow new latrines will be opened to the displaced population around the Centre, an essential and urgent necessity for disease control. 

With the support of international engineering company OpWay and south african neighbours, a new road to connect CRPE and Manjague has also been inaugurated. It is still a dirt track road, but it allows the journey to be done in under 10 minutes.

Finally, close to the Chinhacanine dam, and on all the available fertile lands, the people are planting CORN seeds! 
According to Brother Licinio, our indefatigable partner at the Orphan centre, "it is a beautiful sight, the people here really want to get up and work, it is not in vain that we named the CRPE Centre Rebirth for Hope! The have not stood still with their arms down, they are working and fighting to have their daily bread!"

Help our emergency appeal by making your donation here

Every Little Gesture Counts!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Encouraging news from Silvestre and Hilario

The ALG Local Technicians in our schools S. Luisa Marillac (Silvestre) and S. Vicente Paulo (Hilario) have sent us some more encouraging news:
"I am well, together with my family, though still very frightened about the constant news of more rain coming over the next days. We do hope it does not come to ruin the little that has been tidied up so far. As to work, we did our final clean up in the school yesterday, to allow the children to start classes today. We had very few attending but we do hope that more star showing up to resume their studies, as so far they are still spread everywhere after last week's floods." (Silvestre)

As to Hilario, yesterday he went looking for concentrated juice and biscuits as a little treat to a small group of very poor children sponsored by our sister charity, UPG, the Meninos de Hokwe. He made plans to visit them today at 5pm, with his team time treat, to cheer them up a little. He has also spoken with Sister Aida, a new helper in S. Vicente Paulo school so that, as soon as possible, they could go together to the refugee camps in Macia and Chiaquelane to track the missing children from our sponsoring programme.

Help our emergency appeal by making your donation here

Every Little Gesture Counts!

Starting Again at the Rebirth Orphan Centre!

At the Orphan centre CRPE (aptly named Centre Rebirth for Hope in portuguese!), Father Licinio feels it is time for people to get back on their feet and start their daily routines again, going back to their homes and their farming. They need to start working so they become self-sufficient again!

The land is ready and fertile, waiting to be cultivated. In one month crops of corn, pumpkin and other vegetables should be ready for picking if they are planted now. It is time for the families to clean their homes and slowly slowly "plant" their roots! A way to overcome yet another difficulty in their challenging lives.

With the support of A Little Gesture, Volunteer Sonia, a good friend in Maputo, is organizing a donation of bags of seeds for beans and corn crops. Today Father Licinio will load everything he can from this campaign and take it to the CRPE in his car. He is being helped by two other local religious organizations, the Sisters of Machel and Father Paulo from the Salvatorian Priests, who have lent him two extra cars.

Together we will help rebuild the life of these families!

Help our emergency appeal by making your donation here

Every Little Gesture Counts! 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Meanwhile, in Xai-Xai, travel remains a challenge...

Yesterday, road traffic between the south and the rest of Mozambique was again interrupted due to the collapse of a bridge over National Road Nr1. This obstacle was at the entrance of Xai-Xai, 8th neighbourhood, in the province of Gaza. This situation was eminent according to Cecilio Grachane, head of the National Road Administration in the country. He explained to Radio Mozambique that since the dam protecting the town was destroyed, the strong waters overflowing from the Limpopo river for two weeks are now crossing over the bridge and eventually destroyed it. 

Official efforts are now underway to fix the road spots with bigger erosion from the waters but overall traveling remains changeling in the region. This further hinders our capacity to bring food and basic goods to the more isolated areas in the Xai-Xai area in a speedy and effective way....

Help our emergency appeal by making your donation here

Every Little Gesture Counts!

Monday, February 4, 2013

At the Orphan Centre...

At the CRPE Orphan Centre, near Chokwé, the rain keeps falling over the last days. Power supply has been cut again. Clean water supply to the refugee population has been temporarily powered out of a generator. Our local team is very tired but trying to keep their spirits up though!

There is now a certified nurse giving assistance at the makeshift "Medical Centre" so the volunteers from our sister charity UPG are directing all the patients to this improvised health centre. 

Tomorrow, our Local Partner in CRPE Brother Licinio will go to Maputo, on a car he loaned. We are hoping he is able to make the journey back with more food supplies and that the roads are not going to be cut once more."

Help our emergency appeal by making your donation here

Every Little Gesture Counts!

Starting afresh in Chokwe - Flood Update

In S Vicente Paulo (SVP) and S Luisa Marillac (SLM) schools, in Chokwe, our Local Partners the Vicentine Sisters are back at work. 

In Manjangue, the village outside Chokwe where SLM school is based, Sister Lidia is step by step assessing what has been destroyed by the floods and what can be reused. The books in the library, spread all over the floor, are completely illegible. The small appliances are ruined... the school floor is still covered in mud. At the moment, Sister Lidia is still unreachable by telephone.

Now it is time to get up and move forward, hoping the worst is behind! Hope that is shaken by constant reports that the water level may still rise in the area this week. 

Sister Neusa, our Local Partner and SVP headmistress, is back to Chokwe town after being evacuated last week. She keeping contact with Mr Calado, the official School Delegate, for updates on the school. The school area is still restricted access and the 5th Neighbourhood where it is based remains a no-man land...

Last night it rained torrentially in Chokwe and the rain is expected to continue. 

Local authorities are keeping their high risk alert on as it is possible that the local dams, reaching capacity, will be opened before the 8th of February.

Help our emergency appeal by making your donation here

Every Little Gesture Counts!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Bartolomeu loses his house...

Bartolomeu is a Local Technician in our project of Banhine and lives in Xai Xai – exactly in the city's downtown area that became submersed.  His week became even more sad as his grandfather just passed away. Bartolomeu lives under very strained financial conditions. He had managed a small advance from his salary to purchase a computer, so he could advance on his studies, but he ended up having to sell it. He is one of university scholarship students in Xai-Xai. His scholarship finances his studies and a small salary as technician, but the money is not always enough, especially when he was trying to buy his computer.

Now Bartolomeu is facing yet another adversity. With the floods hitting Xai-Xai last week, his mother's house where he lived was completely destroyed. That area was one of the first to get affected and they lost most of the little possessions they had.

Bartolomeu sent us a message...

"Good morning! The floods is banhine went almost unnoticed. I am under a sad situation thouh as my mother's house was totally flooded and she lost practically everything... I send you pictures of her house. I wish you a good week..."

Help our emergency appeal by making your donation here

Every Little Gesture Counts!

News from flooded Manjangue, Chokwe

From Manjangue, we received news from Father Miguel, not an ALG Partner but someone who has worked closely with us on relief since day one of the floods. He has been visiting the most isolated areas by car with young seminar students, trying to bring help to the flood victims. 

In S Luisa de Marillac, the school in Manjangue supported by ALG, there are still no prospects to open after the school was completely flooded last week. Meals have not restarted and the children were grouped in a higher section of town where they are provisionally receiving classes.  There is still no clarity on the total number of displaced children.

Help our emergency appeal by making your donation here

Every Little Gesture Counts!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Good News at the Orphan Centre CRPE

Yesterday Brother Licinio made yet another journey from Maputo very tired but aware that he was finally going to be able to “cross” the previously flooded area with a car full of goods. He was also joyful that ENERGY had been reinstated again at the CRPE.

In the vicinities of the Orphan Centre CRPE, meaning Rebirth for Hope, there are c. 6’000 displaced people, spread all over Mount Chirrundzo. The WFP (World Food Programme) has started releasing some support in the region, a great source of happiness and relief for our charity, who simply does not have the resources to deal alone with a crisis of this magnitude.

With this support to the broader population, ALG has been able to focus our intervention in the most remote areas of with difficult access to the larger international aid NGOs. We are focusing on the 200 children housed at the CRPE. With the help of our two restless UPG volunteers on the ground in Chinhacanine, we have also helped the crowd directly– taking first aid to the elderly, the injured and the children, or an estimated total of c.1’200 beneficiaries.

Our Emergency Fund has also financed a generator and fuel to power a water well – bringing essential clean water to c. 2’000 local refugees in the CRPE area.

Help our emergency appeal by making your donation here

Flood Update - News from Chiaquelane

Today Brother Licinio and the UPG volunteers went to Chiaquelane, where in the past Sister Isaura ran a shelter home supported by our sister charity UPG. They brough her baskets with 10 bags of flour, 10 bags of rice, 2 boxes of pasta, 4 large cans of oil and beans. The Sister is running a small support centre there as the area is dry and was very grateful for the help provided by the ALG Emergency Fund.

Help our emergency appeal by making your donation here

Every Little Gesture Counts!