Monday, December 25, 2017

Day 25: Merry Christmas full of little Gestures. Thank you very much to all who help us to grow every day!

In 2017, your support to ALG helped c. 2’500 beneficiaries, mainly underprivileged children, many of them orphan and vulnerable. We continue growing mainly with the help of Volunteers and minimal administrative costs. We rely mostly upon our friends’ word of mouth and on ALG’s Friends and Friendly Companies fund raising campaigns to limit headquarters’ expenditures. Our heartfelt THANK YOU to all!

Since our launch in 2005 up to 2017, ALG and our sister charity UPG Portugal registered in Sponsoring initiatives:
· £1.2 MM generously raised by you 
· £1.1 MM already invested on the field benefiting UPG Sponsored children in Xai-Xai, Chokwé and Chongoene
· In 2017 alone, we supported 877 children through direct, individual and loving sponsoring initiatives.
Over a decade ago, ALG has been developing, jointly with our sister charity Um Pequeno Gesto, local Projects that strengthen our support to sponsored children. This year our projects more than 50% were Education projects (from Pre-schools to University Scholarships), 20% were Infra-structure projects such as Family housing, and 20% Poverty relief initiatives such as our HIV Day Care Centre. 

Since 2005, your Great Help has totalled:

· £2.1 MM raised between 2005-2016, £2.4 MM2005-2017YTD
· £1.6 MM invested on the field between 2005-2016, £1.8 MM 2006-2017YTD

In 2018, we want to enlarge the ALG family, continue investing in our children’s Education, secure the School Meals Programme and the HIV Day Care Centre at SLM School. We want to launch more Income Generation Programmes, support extremely underprivileged families and children and break the cycle of poverty step-by-step.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH to everyone who enable us to fulfil ALG’s dream of improving the lives of children, families, youngsters and elderly in Mozambique. Every Little Gesture Helps!


Sunday, December 24, 2017

Day 24: ALG Technicians bringing us closer to children

ALG’s local technicians are vital for our fieldwork. They are mainly young, hardworking underprivileged youngsters, who are the connecting link between the Headquarters’ administrative needs and Local Partners, who are very present and well respected, but also extremely busy with other community issues.

Each technician is crucial for ALG’s work. In Chokwé, the hardworking Jaime (SVP school) and Orcídio (SLM school, with Cristóvão’s support) intensify our intervention in large schools with several projects in place. At ALG pre-schools, hired in 2017, we have Abel at EFI and Cremilde at ESC who took on their new responsibilities with joy and expertise. In Chongoene we have Arnaldo – himself a promotor of ALG’s IT centre – and in Xai-Xai we have Hélder – one of our newest graduates, in Law! These technicians provide support and tenderness to children who have been growing up with us for the past years. Every one of them provides us details of the children they know so well, pictures of happy faces and reports on an unsustainable hut which makes us want to build a house...   we could not forget our dear Hilario, ALG’s General Coordinator and a friendly voice guiding all these youngsters. This Summer, Hilário gathered all the technicians in order to truly assess the difficulties and joys of working with ALG on the field. These meetings will happen again because at ALG we want you to be at your best to help our children which are at such a long distance!

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Saturday, December 23, 2017

Day 23: Colourful smiles - ColorADD's mission

ALG invited the Portuguese NGO ColorADD to visit our operations in Chokwè in February 2017, including the SVP and the SLM school projects.

Between the 19th and the 28th February, a ColorADD team made their initial visit from what ALG expects to develop into a long-term partnership between the two charities. This visit by team leaders Bárbara Neiva and Joao Santos included a recognition visit, the distribution of ColorAdd kits (bag, pencil and activity books) and awareness raising towards color-blindness. ColorAdd has developed a color identification system through a code that allows color-blind people to be inserted into society.

During this visit the team ran a screening of all the children in the HIV Centre with a report fully available for consultation and photos here. The children were thrilled with all the attention and both parties concluded this was a mutually enriching experience to be repeated over the medium-term!

We went looking for the smile inside a child's eyes... we came back with a lot of colourful glances and with a full heart! From Escola Santa Luísa de Marillac to the Day Centre for HIV positive children, we were always welcomed with open arms and were able to share experiences with almost 1000 children and their teachers, carried out colour-blindness screenings, offered ColorADD kits with school material... but, more than that, we touched and were touched by the generosity of every single person who accompanied us in this adventure. For now, we have the certainty of wanting to go back and the promise that we will go back... there are many other smiles to colour!!! A strong and heartfelt thank you to all those who helped us make this crusade possible. To UPG/ALG (Um Pequeno Gesto/A Little Gesture), who supported us from the beginning and accompanied us on the field through its Director, Anabela Nina, its Volunteers and its Local Technicians... from all we received the strength to go on doing more and better... and we will!!! Color is for All!!!

“Which child marked us more? ALL! For themselves and for the incredible work being performed by ALG and the Vicentine Sisters in the Centre!!!
If we have to chose, me Barbara I chose Helio Machavane, a hyper sensitive, creative and intelligent boy, and Marcia, incredibly docile though naughty, very independent. Mano Joao was surrendered to Lavinesse, to her sweetness and intelligence.”

Barbara Neiva, ColorADD, March 2017

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Friday, December 22, 2017

Day 22: Thank you UPG Portugal volunteers!

This year it was Vírginia, Olga and Pedro turn to drop everything and travel to discover a new and unknown reality. They flew to Mozambique where they got in touch with new scents, new flavours, a new culture and new people who, with so little, can give so much. They did an outstanding job at SLM and SVP. Their activities focused on the pre-school, on supporting the technical courses, the children at the Day Care Centre, the study support initiatives and by setting up the Three Mosquiteers challenge.

During this Christmas season at headquarters we had, as per usual, our volunteers providing a great support, helping out with the Christmas post cards which bring so much joy to the UPG Sponsors. Thank you Manuela and Muno.

To the more than 30 volunteers who help us with our daily tasks, our heartfelt Thank You.

This year UPG Portugal, took a major step forward by acquiring the Salesforce CRM to improve our management skills, this help is still precious to us, so come and join us!! (contact us at:

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Thursday, December 21, 2017

Day 21: Hokwé’s fantastic four

Hokwé’s children entered an UPG sponsoring programme, in boarding school regime, between 2011 and 2016. By the end of 2016, the 4 youngsters concluded the 12th grade and moved on to the ALG Technical-University Scholarship Programme.

Artimisa entered a Civil Service technical course, with an ALG scholarship aimed at students who wish to attend shorter and intermediate level courses. Anselmo, Pedro and Adriano received an ALG University Scholarship and are attending the Human Resources Degree!

This was a year of adaptation, Artimisa is living with the Vincentian sisters, ALG local partners, and the boys ae sharing a house! They are all living in Chokwé and we are so proud of their first steps into adulthood!   

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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Day 20: Full bellies always learn better

In 2016, ALG strengthened the After-School Support snack at SVP (São Vicente Paulo school), an after-school programme providing a much-needed academic support to UPG Portugal sponsored children. In a year of huge draught and shortage, our meals were reinforced with rice and beans.

Because this initiative was so successful, in 2017 we asked  to continue providing this help! ALG began by providing 2 meals per week in After-School Support, varying between beans and greens. In return we have healthier and more motivated children, eager to learn more, and even bigger smiles!

With £2'575 in SVP – average £11 student/year – ALG finances instructors to provide after school support mainly for the subjects of Maths and Portuguese, occasional school materials and lunch – a key factor to ensure attendance

At SLM this programme has an annual cost of £564, providing only a snack – at this school children already benefit from free lunch with the ALG School Meals Programme.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Day 19: Margarida Mundlovo: a Mummy from Santa Luísa’s

In mid-February, our SLM local technician Orcídio informed us that Margarida Mundlovo was pregnant. Usually this is followed by a communication informing us that the future mom is going to abandon school.
But Margarida immediately revealed a willingness to continue studying, with a small interruption when the baby is due, of course.  In Mozambique it is not common, nor well accepted, to have pregnant young ladies studying. Margarida entered the UPG Sponsoring programme in 2011 and we take Margarida’s willingness to continue studying as our own. Together with the Vincentian sisters, ALG Local partners in Santa Luísa de Marillac, we incentivise Margarida's continuation of studies!
It was a success! JEMILIO was born of the 14th of May and a few days later Margarida was already back in school. Mom is providing a huge help with the baby and her Portuguese Sponsors, thrilled with the news, besides supporting Margarida are also providing formula for little Jemilio!
A story with a happy ending. We believe these little gestures and this change of mind set will help other young moms! 

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Monday, December 18, 2017

Day 18: Children at the Day Care Center "kick" the disease every day

Because the days at the HIV Day Care Centre in Sta. Luisa Marillac can and should be fun, this year ALG decided to give a different present to these children who live with such a dramatic disease - HIV. We decided to build a football field with the support of British Foundation the Egmont Trust who tries to mitigate the suffering of children affected by HIV. When the new footballs arrived, the joy was contagious among children and adults!

SLM HIV Day Care Centre is ALG’s newest project. In this region, hugely affected by this disease, the centre provides personalised care to 32 children living with HIV/AIDS: adequate meals, medication control and constant medical support. With £499 per year - £45/month per child in 2017 – we provide a healthier and dignified childhood to our little ones!

Children at the centre still live with the virus but they are stronger, healthier, fit to study and more importantly... they are loved and very, very playful.

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Day 17: Thank you to all the companies that joined us in 2017

ALG and UPG Portugal are so proud of having several Solidary and Friendly Companies in Portugal. Since day one PLMJ has provided us precious legal support. We have new initiatives dedicated to UPG such as a NUD with word search puzzles. Caia launched the gorgeous Solidary Caia.  Mii displays our clutches on their stands. Multicert is raising funds internally for UPG with lots or creativity. We cannot forget SETH, responsible for financing a large portion of the School Meals Programme benefiting 800 children on a daily basis, Ribacapital who promotes Merit Scholarships at EFI, and StepAhead responsible for revolutionising our management skills through its SalesForce ... so many initiatives, so many ways of helping us and our children.

We would also like to highlight ALG/UPG friendly schools, always present with enthusiastic children, who are our biggest ambassadors, stimulating our campaigns!

Each company or school, in their own way, choose how to support us and their favourite projects. A Great THANK YOU to all of them!

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Saturday, December 16, 2017

Day 16: The best events ever are with UPG Portugal

UPG Portugal love to create new partnerships with generous institutions and individuals who open their doors and hearts to raise awareness and funds.

This February, UPG Portugal was one of the four institutions supported by the Portuguese National Ballet Company through their Solidary Dress Rehearsal, offering us 200 invitations for the play “ITMOI – IN THE MIND OF IGOR”.

With this opportunity UPG Portugal managed to raise £2’100, inviting a total of 164 spectators with a donation of £13 per ticket. The amount raised during this event was fully applied in one of our most ambitious projects – School Meals at Stª. Luísa de Marillac, Mozambique. This project feeds 900 children every day. We would like to thank the amazing CNB’s corps de ballet who managed, from such a long distance, to bring some magic to the lives of our children in Mozambique.

In the same month, we had another successful solidary initiative this time with Life Training, jointly with APDP (Portuguese Academy for Personal Development). The event “Inspiration for a magical life” was developed with the purpose of inspiring Portugal, and revealing the "formula to access a magical life ", during a dynamic and fun seminar.
In total we raised £1´500 which were also applied in the School Meals Programme in Stª Luisa de Marillac.

Thank you to all who joined us in such inspiring events.

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Friday, December 15, 2017

Day 15: At the HIV Day Care Center Rafael hopes for a better future!

Rafael is 16th years old and joined the HIV Centre in 2014. He is orphaned on his father´s side and lives with his grandmother and an uncle that is mentally impaired.
He was always a very active boy and sometimes a bit rebellious as he preferred playing instead of studying. His grades were kept at just-about reasonable levels with some negative grades until in 2016 he did not pass his school year 5. 
Over 2017 Rafael seems to have learned his lesson. Sister Cardica sees great improvement in this child not only in academic terms but also in his behavior. He delivered no negative grades in his 1st term and has good records in behavior at both the Centre and in the SLM School, with the Sisters and with his colleagues.
These last months have seen him evolve very positively – he still keeps a smile on his face and is very playful with his friends but he is also showing

The SLM HIV Centre provides a complete and personalized programme for HIV/AIDS infected children, on a day care basis, ensuring adequate nutrition, medication and constant medical assistance. This comprehensive support has a cost of £45/ month per infected child. The aim is to alleviate local poverty and provide a more dignified and healthy childhood to seriously ill children. 

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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Day 14: A year growing with ALG!

Our sister charity Sponsoring Programme “Growing with UPG” is a continuity programme focused on Education.

At Escolinha do André children enter this programme from the 6th grade onwards, as soon as they start attending State schools.
We believe this change and this direct accountability enable us to monitor children more closely. We are also able to provide a more customised support when, during difficult stages, many children consider abandoning school. At local level, Technician Helder Machel and Coordinator Hilário Langa secure direct communication with the youngsters!

The Sponsoring Programme annual fee finances: enrolment fees, school supplies, education expenditures, uniforms, and also extra health care support and/or hygiene as necessary. 

Last August, to the usual school supplies and hygiene items, we added a significant amount of food supplies. It was with immense joy that we managed to add this complement which helps and incentivises children, who dream with a professional career and with a different life, to proceed with their studies! Like us, they believe they can make a difference!

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Day 13: We have a seamstress… and a good one!!

This year one of ALG’s main bets has been financing technical courses in S. Vicente Paulo (SVP) and Sta. Luísa Marillac (SLM) schools, both in the Chokwé region. With the firm belief that these courses represent a tool to break the poverty cycle, ALG promotes after-school local technical and professional courses, aimed at underprivileged youngsters, who frequently abandon their academic education.

This summer, ALG celebrated an official agreement with ISPELAC, a government body that supports technical and professional training, to develop courses in SVP school. Besides being open to the local community, these courses are made available to UPG Portugal Sponsored children in SVP and in the neighbouring school of SLM. Initially, ALG financed the electricity courses and we just launched another phase. Now, we have electricity and sewing courses which thrilled Fina - one of UPG’s sponsored children!

Fina Julio Macaze, attends the 8th grade and her favourite subject is History. Like many other children, her dream is to be a policewoman. In her free time, and from a tender age, she loves designing paper clothes for her dolls and to help her mom doing house chores (in her naughty way she says she prefers to clean the house and that she hates doing the dishes!).

She loves sewing so much she already made a bread bag , with the help of the teacher who told us she’s the best student. After concluding the course, Fina says the first thing she wants to make is a dress for herself and then another for her mum.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Day 12: 3, 2, 1 Sebastião Cuna – UPG Portugal Sponsoring is making a difference

Sebastião Cuna, known as Fabito, joined the UPG Portugal Sponsoring Programme this year, and on the past 24th of October he celebrated his seventh birthday. He lives with his elderly grandpa who has difficulties in walking.
Fabito is fortunate to live nearby Sta. Luísa de Marillac’s school, in Manjangue, and he brags about his punctuality!

The support of his sponsors, financing a monthly Basic Basket, school uniform and materials, has helped him to feel part of our big family. We’ve been teaching him to be Happy and to Believe in a Different future … a better future!
Fabito loves a good picture, mainly when he is showing-off his nice clothes offered by his Sponsors with their generous extra contribution.

At Sta. Luísa Marillac school Sebastião and the other 900 students receive a daily meal sponsored by ALG.  

Now that the school year is over, we are certain he will move on to the 2nd Grade!

Congratulations Fabito! We’re so happy for you 

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Monday, December 11, 2017

Day 11: Congratulations Júlio, for another goal achieved

ALG already mentioned our Scholarship holder Júlio, who has been with us since he was a child, through our sister charity UPG Portugal sponsoring programme Hokwé Children. Sponsored by Cascais City Hall, he entered the Mineral Processing Engineering Course at  the ISPT (Instituto Superior Politécnico de Tete).
It is with great joy that we share Júlio’s good news with everybody: he concluded his thesis and while he is waiting to defend it he’s been looking for an internship.
Júlio sent us a message:
 “After 4 years, this long and final stage of the course has come to an end: the conclusion of the curricula subjects. 
I’m so happy and proud for having achieved such a positive result. I owe all this privilege to God, to my family and, without a shadow of a doubt, to ALG and UPG.” 
ALG University Scholarships provide young dedicated underprivileged students, like Júlio, the opportunity of completing their university studies. ALG University scholarship holders are preferably students who previously benefited from UPG Portugal sponsoring programme or community youngsters involved with ALG such as local technicians, teachers or volunteers, with proven merit and eager to study.

Between £966 and £1’400 per year, depending on the course and location, ALG Scholarship finance students' living expenditures, securing mainly enrolment and tuition fees, with an occasional support for accommodation and meals.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Day 10: Welcome to ALG dear Santos Uqueio

Santos Uqueio is 9 years-old and lives in Manjangue, Chokwé. He lives with his aunt and uncle. He is an orphan and has three siblings living in Maputo.
Santos comes from an extremely underprivileged family and this year, this child with “a heart of gold” caught the Vincentian Sisters’ eye during their Community visits!
Santos’ aunt and uncle are very dedicated to their work. His uncle is a night security guard, in Chokwé. His aunt is a farmer and works night and day on their farming plot.  
Santos is in 3rd grade at Santa Luísa de Marillac school. He walks to school every day with a smile on his face! Despite the school being far from his house, Santos says “the distance travelled each day is of little importance, the important thing is to study”. Santos wants to be a policeman when he’s older, to lock up all the criminals and keep everybody safe.”
With our help Santos will be able to fulfil his dream. We’ll keep you posted on his achievements!  

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Saturday, December 9, 2017

Day 9: Hurray for mosquito nets

Volunteers Virgínia, Pedro and Olga were very touched, during one of the visits to the ALG families, with the severity of malaria in the region – and the relative ease with which mosquito nets can prevent the disease. They decided to create an ALG challenge – a campaign to raise funds along with their families and friends!
The Three Mosquiteers campaign goal was to raise funds to buy 1000 mosquito nets. The result was much better than expected, with £1´500 raised, 750 nets were distributed in Xai-Xai and another 750 in Chokwé (this initiative benefited 645 children, with 2 mosquito nets per children) the remaining ones were delivered to our local technicians, without forgetting our pre-schools.
Thank you: Pedro, Virginia and Olga, for this initiative and thanks to everyone who joined them turning another ALG Challenge into a success!

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Friday, December 8, 2017

Day 8: This Xmas, give a charitable gift with the MZ Line by ALG

ALG MZ line is handcrafted, modern and made with lots of love in Mozambique.

This Christmas, give it to your friends and family. Help us to grow and fill your heart with the African colours’ warmth - 100% solidary! A Little Gesture a Great Help improves the lives of thousands of underprivileged children. Our sister charity UPG Portugal sponsors over 800 children every year providing them access to education, basic meals and health services. Our projects support local Education (pre-school, after-class support, literacy classes, school meals and university scholarships), Infra-structures (family huts, water wells and basic sanitation), Poverty eradication (HIV cases), and Sustainability programmes (technical courses and income generation activities), benefiting c. 2500 children every year.

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Day 7: We finally have toilets at ESC!

In the heat of the summer, ALG had another successful campaign. We built a toilet in Sta. Catarina pre-school. Up to then, the existing facilities at this pre-school were a basic and degraded latrine for 60 children every year... With this longed for new infra-structure, and clean sanitation this time set in stone, children will acquire better and healthier hygiene habits and improved conditions at school.
During this campaign we raised £390 and now we have a more dignified and healthier environment for our children. Thank you to all who helped us!!

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Day 6: "We see the world more clearly now!"

By the end of May, Macia held its annual Health Fair! Macia village is located at 60km south of Xai-Xai, Chongoene and 50kms west of Chokwé.

On the ground, ALG found out that the Nhancutse Programme had two sisters almost blind - Laura and Cacilda. After establishing a few contacts, we arrived at Clínica dos Olhos (Eye Clinic) in Xai-Xai, through one of our providers – PITAMBAR Stores. The owner is an active member of the Local Hindu Youth Community.

Fortunately, it was a lachrymal sac issue, and after obtaining a diagnostic and adequate treatment the problem was easily resolved!
The Cossa twins from the Bungane programme, who suffer from strabismus (despite not being operable), are similarly monitored by the Xai-Xai eye clinic, also attended the Health Fair.

The Hindu Community regularly invites a team of Cuban doctors with several areas of expertise, including ophthalmology, to visit Mozambique!

At this Health Fair they performed eyesight screenings and we took a few children to be checked by the doctors. Everybody was happy!
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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Day 5. A magnificent Documentary – Tales of Resilience

In 2016, volunteers Niko and Mattias (Chroma Pictures) visited Mozambique with ALG to shoot a very special documentary. The aim was to record ALG’s work on the ground, focusing on the lives of children growing up with our support like Racilia, Arone, and buddies Lenço and Ernesto.
Tales of Resilience, the magnificent documentary depicting our children’s tales of resilience and courage, was premiered in March, in special event hosted in London: ALG’s Gala. In 2017 we celebrated 6 years of existence in UK, and we gathered 220 guests at the Portuguese Embassy to celebrate with us. Besides feeling proud of this documentary, we were ecstatic with the £77 thousand pounds raised to invest in our project in Mozambique.
With these funds ALG secures the equivalent to almost 12 months of ground operations in the Projects’ area.
This documentary will keep the stories of 4 special children who, with your help, fight every day to achieve a better life, forever in our hearts.

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Monday, December 4, 2017

Day 4: An amazing EFI Scholarship holder

Remember our dear Anita Jorge Zitha, a stellar student from EFI pre-school? During the past years she has been awarded a merit scholarship through our Flowers’ Scholarship Programme.

Anita’s life has not been easy. In the past year her mum and grandmother, with whom she lived, passed away. Then she was living with an aunt who, unfortunately, also passed away! It seemed almost too unbearable to believe…With only seven years old Anita is now living with her grandmother’s husband. This very determined and brave little girl didn’t not give up studying but, with such turmoil in her life, her school results were affected. Grandma Etelvina, EFI’s founder and ALG Local Partner in this project, started tutoring Anita at EFI after-school. The effort paid off and Anita just received her Portuguese test results - 15! Congratulations Anita, you are a brave and strong girl!!

The Flowers’ Scholarships are a merit programme launched in 2011. ALG and Ribacapital joined forces to reward best students, from 4 to 5 years of age, at Escolinha Flor da Infância. Every year we select 8 children with outstanding results and school performance throughout the year.

The 4-year-old students receive an award (42£) converted in a Basic Basket and School Material.

The 5-year-old students receive a multiannual scholarship (430£), split in annual instalments of 81£) until completing their primary education. This amount includes a Basic Basket and setting up a savings bank account jointly with their guardian, accessible only when the child is 18 years old. Our goal is to award merit and dedication from a young age!

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