Friday, September 30, 2016

First SVP Income Generation Mom - 2016

Today we introduce you to our first “Income generation” Mom. Her name is Sarita Mateus, 42 years old and mother of one of our Sponsered children Hilario Manuel Machava. Hilario has been sponsered since 2010, at the S. Vicente de Paulo Program.

Sarita Mateus’s business is buying and selling biscuits, sweets, Pop Corn and hair products in a small stall across the road from S. Vicente Paulo School. Good Luck to you “Mama Sarita”

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Thank you Mozambikes

Donaldo, Cristóvão and Orcídio got a bicycle each, offered by Mozambikes to help them in their ALG daily activities!

The acquisition of the bicycles improved these three youngsters’ life significantly. The distances they walked on daily basis, through heat and rain, will be shorter and easier. This new transportation will contribute to increase their motivation to inspire the children they monitor.
With the bicycles Donaldo, Orcídio and Cristóvão will be able to make house visits when children miss school, accompany them to the health clinic when they need, and schedule weekly visits to the children sponsored by UPG Portugal.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Patricia hits the ground... BANG!

First impressions of Mozambique... First impressions of the real Africa...
Such a banality to speak of red dust and warm scents, of endless roads and smiles, everywhere big wide smiles. Commonplace as these are in any foreigner's testimonials, it still blows you in the face and your senses are overpowered with feelings when you land from “that other world” up in cosy Europe. Tenderness feelings, helplessness feelings, guilt feelings, adventure feelings, hope feelings. 
The road is long, scenic and scattered with people from Maputo to Chokwé, hundreds of all ages selling, bartering, trying to make a living from whatever trade or crafts they have, hanging on the sidewalks, hanging on local buses, everyone surviving over the long dirt road. Chokwé town, a piece of no man´s land that no one choses to visit but where one happens to be born, study in subsidized schools like our charity´s SLM and SVP ones and later come to visit the family abandoned for a better trade in neighboring South Africa. The beautiful Pacific is only 100kms away but our children could not live further from it in a place where the earth has not seen the stubborn rain for most of the year, cattle is meager and week in dry pastures and hunger rises everyday.

BANG I am overblown as soon as I arrive to SVP school, 1000 kids total, 200 of the poorest ones under our care, just landed with our documentary volunteer Niko T. Greetings from total strangers, young and old, staff, children, Vicentine nuns, that welcome us like old family aunts kissing us and hugging us as if we are precious and they have waited to embrace us half their life. And your usual habits of the  “civilized” western world of keeping a respectful distance, let´s talk business, just go unforgotten and you hug back and ask for the kids health and what they had for lunch. You pick up little children you never saw, some you recognize from our extensive charity reports but that till now were names with no faces, and they cuddle touching your face and hair. And it takes time, lots of endless warming Mozambican time, to just say hello and even more to greet goodbye. Have we forgotten in our busy full lives the joy and richness of getting acquainted with a new human being?

Edson, BANG BANG, scrawny fragile delightful strength of this 11-year old just under our Sponsorship programme that fell young into a wheeling chair. Edson who everyday goes all alone to school, with his long lean arms, through dust and wind, shy smile and so proud when, mouths open, we see him drive back home. We wanted to follow him on the spot and do a full documentary on him alone. And I muse how my concern flying that night had been how reliable my internet would be because it is absolutely impossible to the human race to now survive without 24-hour whatsapp. 

Four wheel car out, drive out of town into the little oasis of the neighboring SLM School. Romantic despite its neediness, this little compound of the Vicentine sisters with scattered trees and half-surviving vegetable huts and little buildings in a school to which I probably dedicate some 70% of my “free” time. Feeding 800 kids every day, sponsoring 170 of these, putting them through after class tutoring, technical courses, can a few attend university once, an HIV centre for 32, let´s get the mums involved and generate family income, endless tiring project lists where I always want to do more, faster, higher, broader, more essential, more efficient, more, MORE!!

Will I and ALG be able to do more…? Do we need to do more…? Is less sufficient…? Will more still NEVER be sufficient….?

Sleep, sleep, and forget the mosquitoes and the adrenaline, the day starts at 5.50am tomorrow…

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

An exciting new documentary on ALG!

Niko is packing his cameras ready to fly to Mozambique!

"This September I’ll travel to Mozambique to produce photos and films for small but incredible charity ALG. It´s "a little gesture" from my part that makes a big difference helping this small charity grow in awareness and fundraising. For 20 days I’ll be filming their wide range of work in caring for underprivileged children, many orphaned or HIV infected, creating homes, offering school meals, better education and scholarships while supporting single mothers to generate income. 

ALG tries hard to apply 90p OF EACH POUND DONATED directly on the children. They are generously supporting the logistics costs of documenting the isolated areas where these children live. All my work will be produced FREE OF CHARGE. Please follow my little gesture and show your support to ALG with a donation towards my personal target of raising £4´000. 


Our support will make a huge difference to the lives of many children. Donate here!"

Niko T. will travel this Sunday to Mozambique, joined by his cameraman Mattia R., both as volunteers. They will shoot a professional documentary on all the children benefiting daily from ALG's work and your contributions. We cannot wait to show it to all our supporters! 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The adventure begins! 6 months in Mozambique...

The thing that was just an idea is now a project! This was what I was thinking last Friday. The day of my departure finally came. I was surprised at the airport by several friends who came to bid me farewell. Suddenly, the moment came to fly away. After 10 hours of flight we (myself, Mamã* Anabela and Mana* Joana arrived in Maputo, around 06:30 am. During the morning we had the chance of meeting Manos* Bernardo and Filipe, and visited the Arts & Crafts Fair.

Maputo is quite different from the cities I’ve known so far. Although it is a capital city, poverty is striking; old buildings without adequate maintenance; semi-tarmacked roads, non-paved sidewalks, loads of dust …

As soon as we said goodbye to the Manos*, we head out towards Chókwè, which is more than three and half hours away. The draught has had its tool on the landscape. As we head towards the countryside of Mozambique, the buildings became rarer and we saw mainly houses made out of mud and reed. Next to them we see their inhabitants, mostly barefoot and wearing second hand clothes, some worn out, others torn apart.

In Chókwè town the dust is a constant presence, as well as the awful smell coming from the dumpsters and the lack of hygiene conditions. In the meantime, the poverty level increases as we proceed through neighbourhoods and communities.

In every city corner it is possible to buy phone top ups, fruit and vegetables. In the market (which looks more like a labyrinth) it is possible to find anything: vegetables, second hand clothing, shoes, ironware, traditional cloth (capulanas) and sewing and hairdresser services. To every product we have to add a layer of dust from the market’s ground, and… let’s not forget the added cost for being mulungo (white person).

Unfortunately, reality is sad, nevertheless, on the face of these people we can easily find a smile. Mozambicans are friendly, kind and curious.

The adventure begins!"

*Endearing terms
Adriana L. is a volunteer with our sister charity Um Pequeno Gesto and will spend the next 6 months spreading attention and lots of joy to our children. Follow her adventures here (in portuguese).