Thursday, June 25, 2015

Our children in SLM will no longer eat off the ground!

In SLM School, 831 children have a daily meal thanks to our School Feeding Program, supported by ALG since 2013. However, we knew that was not worthy to our children to eat off the ground, under a tree and vulnerable to dust and earth from the wind. In rainy days, it tooks a lot of logistics because all children ate inside the classrooms or under the roof, sitting on the ground.

This year, we were finally able to give one more step and reach out to all school community dream, specially our lovely Sister Lídia’s, through the construction of a mess room where our children will finally eat properly with dignified conditions and in an healthy way.

Works are already stared last week and they are running very quickly!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A farm which we are very proud of in SVP!

S. Vicente de Paulo’s farming plot is not just a source of income for the School!
After a few difficulties with the first sowings during the current year, SVP School farming plot is finally bearing fruits. This farming plot caters for the school’s needs, strengthening the After-School Support daily snack, sponsored by ALG. While the children benefit from support classes to strengthen their Portuguese language and Mathematics skills, the moms work hard in the farming plot, on a rotation basis, plating onions, lettuce, potatoes, cabbages or tomatoes. The sale of these produces benefits not only the school itself but also finances individual projects for the moms: small scale businesses to sell produce in their own neighbourhoods, allowing them to be self-sufficient.

ALG is proud of this project which is an example of sustainability and empowerment for the Mozambican women. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

With a filled heart...

Joana is the project assistant, and her daily activities consist of the management of the day to day projects, supervision, evaluation and communication with the local partners. In April she was in Mozambique, and as she settled in after an exciting trip she left us this witness of her days in the area. 

In April this year, UPG gave me the opportunity to go to Mozambique and see with my own eyes, all the work that has been going on for almost 11 years, and for which I have contributed for almost 2.  
When we get away from Maputo and its confusion and we head ourselves there ("lááá"), Brother Hilário tells me with a smile "Now you will truly get to know Mozambique!" And I did. I can't quite explain well what it is to visit a place where where it feels we have been to already. Coming into Escolinha do André and recognizing the patio that so regularly appears in pictures, where the boys and girls sit playing or eating. Getting to Chongoene and recognizing the Church and the Mission. Entering EFI or ESC and seeing the wall that Sister Carol painted last year, or getting to know the teachers that Sister Margarida so much talked about and that by then I had only seen pictures of. Meeting the mothers that help us and that know all the children like they were all their own. Being welcomed by all as if they knew me for long, although they had just met me. 
Ever since I started working at UPG, I always wondered how those places would be, and and tried to understand the daily difficulties of our technicians in collecting information that we constantly ask them for. Truly, you can only really understand when you are there living such reality. 
I never thought that this trip would have such a positive impact. Maybe that is why I got so emotional right when I entered S.Vicente and when the mothers welcomed us with open arms, traditional songs and an enormous feeling of gratitude. Or when I entered Santa Luísa and felt that all the effort that we made to finance the Feeding Programme or the Day Centre is recognized. Maybe that is why I felt my heart fill for every present i gave every child. Every time they hold my hand or touched my hair, or by simply playing with them. 
Knowing Cleise, my goddaughter in the Chongoene Mission or Nelson my parents godson in S. Vicente, was like getting to know part of the family and I couldn't have been happier by seeing their look when I told them who I was.  

Going to Mozambique made everything make sense (more than it did before) and every day when I get up to go to UPG (even  when it's hard for me to wake up) I remember of the  nearly 3 weeks I spent next to the people for whom I work for every day, and that probably all of them are already awake for at least 2 or 3 hours and that without even having breakfast, they have started yet another day. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Do you want to know Rosita?

"Hello I'm Rosita, I'm 5 years old and I attend Escolinha de Sta. Catarina. I'm always having fun with my friends. 
I really enjoy being in school because I learn a lot, and I've even learnt how to count. Whenever the teacher calls someone to the board I'm always the first one to go, and I also love to sing and listen to stories."

Did you now with only £72 per year you take a tiny kid, like Rosita, from the streets and get him into an ALG Pre-School? In the Month of the Little Ones, bring pre-school education, 2 daily meals and lots of love to tiny kid like Rosita.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Hilario joined the celebrations as the Portuguese Community!

Last week Hilario, our young Local Coordinator in Mozambique, joined the celebrations as the Portuguese Community held their annual gathering. Several other corporates and NGO’s operating in the country participated in the festivities.  ALG showcased our local work and the charitable projects developed over 11 years in conjunction with our Portuguese sister-charity UPG Portugal. 

More than a simple exhibit, this was an opportunity for our small charity to interact with diverse players in the country, sharing useful ideas and networking contacts. There were also more relaxed moments as the crowd danced to local live music and enjoyed Portuguese and Mozambican food. It was a very productive Saturday as we keep on establishing local bonds and increasing awareness of our Little Gestures in Mozambique!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Departure from Mozambique

Leaving is always the hardest part. The uncertainty of the return; the continuity of what we are trying to develop; the weight of distance and of life on the other side.
A few days ago I told UPG Portugal volunteers, who left Chokwé worrying about the unfinished work that the important thing is to focus on what was accomplished. The immensity of our mission -supporting over 2000 on a daily basis - invariably make us feel powerlessness or dissatisfied. But over the years I learn to focus on the small victories. I try to give Salvador enough hope to overcome the pain he felt over the past 2 years. I try to find out that the number of children at school is higher than the anxiety felt by the S. Vicente moms going through every product in the monthly basic basket. I try to feel that Sister Antónia’s vision for S. Luisa is stronger than the Aids statistics that surpass every official number.
Our mission is built on a case by case and chid by child basis, trying to find in each one of them a source of hope, a strength that makes them want more. Our mission is to provide opportunities and help children to use them.
It is not an easy mission and for this reason we always leave with a heavy heart, always wanting to do more. But is a mission with a purpose and every time we go to Mozambique we readjust our path.

Testimony by ALG Chairman and Founder Sara Vicente, during her visit to Mozambique , May 2015