In Búzi, the district of the Mozambican province of Sofala most devastated by the floods that followed Cyclone Idai, Augusto (10) and his brothers and cousins are amazed by the fictional stories that their grandmother, Deta, (57), is patiently telling them. The storytelling helps take their young minds away from the stress caused by the limitations imposed by the novel coronavirus global pandemic.
Sitting in front of their tent house in one of the resettlement centres in the district, sometimes grandma Deta (as her grandchildren affectionately call her) intersperses her fictional stories with teachings on the prevention of COVID-19. Deta has attended a training on good hygiene practices promoted by World Vision in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development's Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAID BHA) aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19.
An environment of laughter hides the drama that the family of seven (among whom six are children) has experienced in the recent past. They survived Cyclone Idai, but lost everything including their home. In fact, the children are now orphaned and depend solely on their unemployed grandmother to survive.
As if the misery and poverty wasn't enough, a fire that resulted from distraction on the part of one of the members completely consumed their shelter and all the assets that were there, including school materials. Fortunately, no one was hurt.
The partnership between World Vision and USAID-BHA, provided the family with school supplies, clothes, blankets, mattresses, among other household utensils.
“I lost my beautiful outfit that I liked so much.” regrets Augusto. “Thanks to World Vision I've got other clothes!”
In addition to this humanitarian aid, the family has benefited from the installation of a hand-washing system, tippy taps, and a dishwasher.
“Grandma taught us to wash our hands in that ´washbasin´ after using the latrine and after playing with our friends”, says Augusto showing how he used to wash his hands at tippy taps with water and soap. “Also, she taught us to use properly the face mask and the importance of staying home to not be infected by coronavirus”, adds Augusto.
Despite these improvements, the challenges still persist mainly because it is a family that has no other income. Sometimes, Deta does odd jobs to feed her grandchildren. She dreams of having a safe home that is resilient to climate change so that her grandchildren can have safe shelter.
In the past, Deta had two hectares of farming land where she used to produce several crops. However, her farm was devastated by Cyclone Idai. “Here in the resettlement I don't have enough space to plant to feed my grandchildren. Now I take advantage of my backyard to sow some vegetables that we use to complement the rations we receive from World Vision”, she says.
The challenges that the family have encountered do not prevent Augusto, who currently attends third grade, from dreaming big. “When I grow up, I dream of becoming a nurse!”, he says.
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, Augusto used to attend a child-friendly space run by World Vision where, alongside other children, he was monitored and kept safe in an early childhood development environment.
Around 70.000 individuals, including the most vulnerable children, have been reached by this partnership through child protection interventions; water, sanitation and hygiene, and other sectors.
By: Lourino Pelembe, World Vision Mozambique Communications Officer