Saturday, May 12, 2012

It takes a whole village to raise a child

Less than 48 hours in Maputo and we’re invited to a party. There, I met a very entrepreneurial young guy. As president of the Associação Cultural Muodjo, he approached me to see how we could  collaborate. A couple of days later we met and I interviewed him to find out more about the organization.

As it turns out, this small local organization works with street children, supporting them in a myriad of ways with the help of many volunteers from the same community, as well as national, and international volunteers from Germany, Brazil and other countries.

They do provide daily services to 60+ kids, quite a feat given the very limited material resources they have. Some of the organization’s most pressing needs? A steady source of funds, permanent and trained staff, food, educational materials, a new building that allow them to provide workshops, donors who would like to sponsor the expenses of the kids’ schooling. What they lack in things, they more than compensate with human input.

Want to know more? Here is an extract from Muodjo's strategic plan:
Not all street children are orphans. A considerable proportion of the children we work with surely know how to answer the following questions:

  • Where they lived before opting for the life of the street
  • What were the reasons for leaving home
  • Who lived in the house they left
  • What would they like to be in the future
In some cases parents know the whereabouts of the child but are not interested in seeking and bringing them back. This indicates the need for a program to create awareness among parents, extended families or possible surrogate for subsequent reintegration, and continuous monitoring.


The ideal would be to reinstate all children back with their families, but this is no always possible. For this reason, the organization aims to provide a boarding school, a place where they can obtain social assistance to attend school and be provided with life skills training.

Even with this short abstract, it’s clear that the challenges are manifold. To support the approximately 600,000 orphan children in the country many other organizations are trying to do what they can, sometimes with minimal resources as this one.


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