Six months ago, Belamina Judith, a community health worker, received an emergency phone call from Antonio Manuel. His wife, Hortencia, was expecting twins and had gone into labour before she had a chance to reach the hospital.
Raquel Meque, 19, a mother of a 4-year-old girl and a 1-month-old baby boy, realises how dangerous malnutrition is. She remembers how last year her daughter, Vina, got sick and her legs began to swell.
Last year, Isabel, a mother of six, had been prepared for another long, anxious wait to find out the HIV status of her baby, Tomas. She remembers how, in 2007, it took three months for her second child’s HIV test result to be sent to her local clinic.
Last year (2015), Veronica Nhamassa, 25, had running water in her home for the first time in her life. She lives with her husband and 19-month-old daughter Eulisia in a one-bedroom home in the peri-urban area of Jangamo, in the arid southern province of Inhambane.
Jeni Tito, 14, says she found it difficult to attend school on an empty stomach and without school materials and school uniform. So, last year, when she started a relationship with a boy and got pregnant, she decided to drop out of school.
Fatima’s face lights up with a charming smile when she greets Raquel, a pseudonym used by the psychologist who is visiting Fatima in her new home in the heart of Mozambique’s bustling capital, Maputo.
Antonio, 43, a father of six children, needed no encouragement to talk about his experience live on the radio as long as he did not have to give his name. “I wanted to tell my story so others could learn from my mistake,” he says, looking a little embarrassed.
There is compassion in the rural home of Julieta Lavuleque, a 58-year-old widow. She has been looking after her three grandchildren, Rosalina, 13, Angelina, 10, and Arselia, 7, ever since the death of their mother five years ago.
Although last year’s drought was probably the worst in 30 years, some provinces suffer recurrent drought each year, and we need to support these communities to become more resilient.
“The children had faced so many difficulties in their lives; some had been abused, others abandoned, but despite their traumas, they played and laughed with us. It moved me” — Shelsia, 14.
- © UNICEF Mozambique 2017
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