The consequences of the AIDS epidemic affect the lives of most people in Mozambique. Almost one adult in five (about 15% of the adult population) is HIV positive. More than a million people have been infected by the virus and will develop AIDS in the future. The number of orphans is rising. In 2007 it was estimated that almost one million children had lost their mother or both parents to the virus.
ADPP Mozambique seeks to support individuals, groups and organisations working to stop the spread of HIV and to mitigate the consequences of the disease.
The idea of Hope Maputo is to support people living with HIV/AIDS to give them the chance to live longer and with less suffering. People living with HIV/AIDS must play an active part in solving their own problems.
The Orphan Project and the support of Exprivia
Part of the Hope programme is specifically dedicated to the protection of children affected by the consequences of the HIV/AIDS epidemic: the Orphan Project. In addition to their need for food and shelter, what primarily threatens the welfare of orphans is the impossibility of receiving education, care and protection from an adult member of the family. To ensure healthcare, education and protection for thousands of affected children, the Orphan Project has identified four target groups:
- the children themselves
- local leaders
- adults in the community
The involvement of all local adults is of paramount importance for the healthy development of the children. This is why one of the first activities implemented was the training of teachers and community leaders who can support or effectively implement the measures proposed by our local partner.
Since Christmas 2006, Exprivia has been committed to supporting 100 children orphaned as a result of the spread of AIDS in Mozambique. These children have lost one or both parents to the disease and are cared for by relatives or acquaintances who often do not have the means or resources - not just material - to look after them properly.
The children supported by Exprivia all live in the Maputo area and the project provides them with food, healthcare, education, and the protection of their rights, also engaging them in healthy and educational extracurricular activities in their "free time".
One of the priorities of this programme is getting the children to study Portuguese. Most of the orphans come from families who speak the local language and they therefore only learn Portuguese at school, often finding it very difficult to understand what they are being taught. An English course has also recently been added to the programme.
The educational development of the children involves special emphasis on personal hygiene, such as the importance of brushing teeth and personal cleanliness. In addition to food, clothing, uniforms and school supplies (in some cases also payment of school fees), medical and psychological care, the children take part in a variety of sports and cultural activities in protected environments.
The practice of sports, in particular, gives the children awareness, values and rules for when they are together. Over the years the children have pursued various activities including football, badminton, volleyball and table tennis. As well as games and sports there are cultural and creative activities such as reading, dancing, singing, theatre and trips to get to know their local area.
Since 2010 the number of children benefiting from the project has grown from 100 to 150 and in addition to the above activities there are also small business activities now (sewing and cultivation of vegetables) that take the form of workshops to help children contribute to family finances.
Personal stories from the Orphan Project
"I am 8 years old and in the third year. My parents are ill with AIDS and I live with my grandmother who is already old. I really enjoyed seeing the sea ... it is so beautiful and blue ... and playing with the parrots. I want to ask Exprivia in Italy never to forget the orphans. There are twenty of us in my group." (Lazzaro – 8 years)
With an innocent smile
that lives through play
We are different, we are the same
We have a mission
in the world, many dreams.
We are the children of nobody
But we keep on dreaming
Hoping that one day we'll wake up
With someone to hug.
Thanks to Exprivia for International Youth Day.
(Domingos Maibasse, 14 – Machava)