Thursday, March 28, 2013

The joy at EFI pre-school

“I’m lost for words to describe this experience and I think I can also speak on behalf of Caetana. I could talk about the times I went to Little School of Andre and my eyes were filled with magic or talk about the children who “stole” our hearts, but I will tell you about Pre-School Flor da Infancia ("EFI").

The EFI pre-school is composed by children between 3 and 5 years of age and each one of them fills us with tenderness in their own way. The first time I went there and saw so many children staring at us with those wide and curious eyes my heart completely melted... The children’s happiness in singing and dancing for us and the laugher released when we joined them to dance are memories that will stay with me forever. 
On that day (and others) my heart sunk when I remember that behind every child there is a horrible story but, as defeating as it may be, before their eyes life is beautiful and the joy exuding out of these tiny persons is overwhelming!! 

I could mention the happiness that a cookie, a lollipop or the mere sight of us gives them, but I think it is enough to see these children dancing to understand the value they give to life and I admire them for this. 

Khanimambo my dear children!"

From Madalena H, local volunteer with our sister-charity UPG Portugal in late 2012/early 2013 in EFI pre-school, Xai-Xai, Mozambique.

Newly built by UPG Portugal in 2010 and focused on providing pre-school support and a daily meal to very poor local children, EFI has been financed by A Little Gesture UK for the last 2 years. It is supported by campaigns such as the current March at ALG Month of the Milk, who aims to give these young children a daily glass of milk.

Please contact us if you wish to help support the children in EFI!

March at ALG: The return of the Milk Moustaches!

Friday, March 22, 2013

World Water Day - ALG Newsletter 3: Special Report on Water

57% of the population of Mozambique, including up to 70% of the country’s rural population, have no access to clean water. To improve the quality of living of the communities that ALG supports, we built two new water wells that are now providing clean water to over 2.000 people. Read more about your donation!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

In the flooded SVP school… testimonial from Hilario

"From this side things are starting to go back to normal, while still affected by the recent Chokwe floods. The hospitals, shops and markets have started to work again. Care must be taken with all the food supplies and all goods sold as part of these were previously contaminated by the overflowing waters.On the other side there rate many osquitos at the moment and basic health sanitation is not at the highest levels. In the near term we still feel very threatened by an explosion of malaria and diaharrea-led diseases such as cholera.It is worth noting malaria is the number two cause of death in Mozambique after HIV/AIDS.

In S. Vicente of Paulo school ("SVP"), in neighbourhood 5 of Chokwe, after the devastating effect of the floods it is now time to put our hands and hearts to work, raise our heads and get the children to smile again. 
In our SVP school, the children have slowly returned, meaning they have finally left the refugee camps in Chiaquelane and Macia. This is despite official government announcements that all the displaced population should be sheltered in safe locations (such as Chiaquelane and Macia). Following this return to the village, we started a small census of the children in SVP directly sponsored by our portuguese sister-charity UPG. We had a total of 79 children in the final week of February, though it is important to note that every day the situation seems to stabilise and more children are returning to school. 

For now I am organising the class lists for the after-class study centre in SVP. I intend to send you final enrolment lists by the end of next week.

During this period we managed to distribute our basic monthly baskets to the families under our support programme. These contained rice, corn flour, oil, salt, sugar, beans and peanuts. These baskets made a dramatic difference to our impoverished families in the area.

We were also blessed with school material kits containing 10 notebooks, a ruler, a rubber, two roll pens, two pencils, a pencil sharpener and a school bag from Unicef. 

This is a small summary of what happened here in February. 
A huge thank you"

ALG Technician in SVP school, Chokwe

While March is the Month of the Milk at ALG, our Emergency Fund for the ongoing floods crisis is still open

Help our emergency appeal by making your donation here

Every Little Gesture Counts!

Monday, March 18, 2013

A warm cup of Milk & Cartoons...

ALG Friends, 

who remembers as a child to cuddle up watching cartoons with a glass of milk? That small cup that would warm our soul before bed and keep our belly full! 
And at school intervals.. that little packet of milk that would give us the energy to learn and also play?

March at ALG is the Month of the Milk. We want to give these moments to the 3-5 year olds at our pre-schools in Mozambique. 
Together, we can get these little ones to remember their childhood this way too!

March at ALG: The return of the Milk Moustaches!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

In S.Luisa after the floods...

After the floods most schools in the city of Chókwe began the classes in the last week of February, since there were no conditions to restart the classes. The classrooms were full of mud and due to the loss of documents they did not have the lists of students per class. Because so many days of classes were lost we decided to have classes on Saturdays to recover the lost classes and to avoid affecting the children.

In Santa Luísa because we missed only one week we decided to alternate the Saturdays, i.e. one Saturday with classes another without. With the school snack made available by The ALF Flood Emergency Fund there is no absence of students and they do not abandon classes after the break, which used to happen before with some students. We have been helping the children in the study room project to reach a positive result.

School Plot
Currently the cleaning of the whole school yard, including the plot, is in progress. After the floods the school was transformed into a forest so now the yard and the plot are being cleaned. At the same time we are also plowing in order to sow, in the next few days, different kinds of seeds.

As it would be expected after the floods there were some diseases due to the food available at the time and also due to the poor quality of the water. But thanks to the work of Sister Esperança the situation of the children was kept under control up to now.

Income generation
After the floods we visited the moms that have income generation activities and we realised that the products they bought in January to be sold was lost during the floods. Also part of the money raised from the sale of products was used to buy food. Since there was no way to go to Chókwe, or to any other place to buy more affordable items, the food was bought locally and because it was scarce the prices were very high.

While March is the Month of the Milk at ALG, our Emergency Fund for the ongoing floods crisis is still open

Help our emergency appeal by making your donation here

Every Little Gesture Counts!

Monday, March 11, 2013

A little milk tale from pre-school ESC...

"Last year, the children in the preschools Flor da and Santa Carina drank their little cup of milk and half a bread so willingly an with such appetite…You makes you wonder how much you can offer with such little

I should't even tell you this.. but oh well! 
Once over the week-end, one of the children that were having classes under the almond tree, in S. Catarina, came to knock on the door of the volunteers. He wanted to play! I decided to give him a glass of milk with a bit of chocolate powder and some cookies. Well… I can only tell you I had never seen such a thrilled child with one glass of chocolate milk!! He drank and ate very slowly so the moment would last for longer. "Do you like it?" I asked? And he nodded with his head saying yes, yes…and enjoying that tiny comfort so much.

But unfortunately it was a little luxury he could not have every day…"

From Virginia F., a portuguese volunteer in Chongoene with UPG Portugal in October 2012

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Floods - New ALG Video just in!

Check out the new ALG video on the floods that devastated our intervention area in Chokwe and Xai-Xai in late January, affecting thousands and leaving hundreds of families homeless.

While March is the Month of the Milk at ALG, our Emergency Fund for the ongoing floods crisis is still open

Help our emergency appeal by making your donation here

Every Little Gesture Counts!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Why Milk?

Why serve milk in school settings?

  • It includes saturated fat which is good for growing children.
  • Milk provides calcium which helps to build strong bones and teeth.
  • It provides vital vitamins, protein and riboflavin to support growth and aid the immune system and nervous system.
  • It is one of the best drinks for hydration, supporting brain function, concentration, memory and creativity.
  • It provides a great boost between breakfast and lunch, helping children to be ready to learn.
  • Taking a break to have a drink of milk provides important time for children to socialise and learn skills such as manners and sharing.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Update on the Floods Emergency Fund - Local Testimonial on your generous donation…

"Dear A Little Gesture

How are you all? Here daily life is taking its normal course again. 

We were allocated 3 new teachers, two of them recent transfers. Alongside with Sister Maria do Ceu and the ALG Technician Silvestre, we have 16 people in total as our staff. As to the students, we will be doing the updated lists this coming week so we have exact numbers of school attendance.

The soup and the children's [flour-based] meal has brought generalised happiness, you should see them eating with such joy, throwing nothing away. We managed to feed the whole group of 650 people until now with a daily meal, 3 times soup and 2 times the children's meal. For the soup we used all the leftover vegetables from the students in culinary class that were kept in the fridge.When the stock wear out we will need to figure out the next step, but we will work something out! Once again we thank you the funds transferred of MZN30'000 [c.£770], we will get through a month of meals. Next week I will call JAM Life [who has been supporting the school with food] to see when their support starts again, as they lost all the supplies they had here between the floods and the looting afterwards. But there is hope.

Classes are running normally, we will only need 3 additional saturdays to make up for the programme missed while the school was flooded. We were so happy with the support of the congregation offering us school supplies for every student, grouped as a family or by household.  We ran the numbers and we are now covering 416 families. We received supplies for 300 but we stretched it fairly for everyone. With the second transfer of funds sent by ALG for emergencies and with some third-party donations 
of food, alongside the usual sponsoring programme [from UPG Portugal], we managed to distribute our usual basic monthly basket for all the children. Hunger is prevalent here after the floods so everyone received 10kgs of rice, a bag of 12.5kg of corn flour, 5 kg of beans, 5kg of peanuts, 2 litres of oil, 2 kgs of sugar, 2 kgs of salt and 2 pieces of soap.

This coming week we will give children under the ALG/UPG programme some tea, pasta, sugar and if we manage to find it cheaper a chicken (ours were taken by the rain waters) and also some soap. We are sewing new school uniforms so they have a pair of presentable clothes for school, as many of them have lost everything. 

Yesterday and today children had their religious course as usual. For the catholic families in the region who which so, over 200, we have a weekly timetable with classes. This year, in October or November, we will host the christening of over 30 students. Among them we have several children sponsored by ALG's sister charity UPG Portugal such as Catarina, Benilda, Azelia, Rafael, Noemia, Andrisse, Leneo, Teresa e sandra, Almira and Marian, if they continue to study and behave properly. It will be such a joy for them.

As to school supplies, all the children received from UNICEF or from PLAN a school bag, pencils, journals, rubber, rulers, compass, etc. You cannot imagine their excitement as all 650 of them received one!

As soon as I gather all the photos from all these events, stored in father Miguel's camera, I will send them to you. Our ALG photo camera has not been working since the floods and needs assistance.

As to the house of local girls Elsa and Leonilda, our Silvestre is giving all he can to recover it, I shall keep you posted.

I will stop this or you will bore of all these news, as life here is now a constant flow of news… A big hug and gratitude for all you have done for the children and for ourselves.

With tenderness, from your forever friend
Sister Lidia, Vicentine Missionary in Manjague, Chokwe"