There are 11,315,000
children in Mozambique, most in poverty with 42% in some
provinces such as Gaza, having stunted growth; most won't live much past their fortieth birthday, nearly one
in five will contract HIV/AIDS and four out of five will live
in rural areas lacking clean water and other essential
services. Much of this enduring
poverty can be put down to the civil war from 1977 to 1992
that ravaged the infrastructure and population of the country
coupled with flooding, droughts (overall 48.2% of the
population is at risk from either floods or droughts) and an
uneducated workforce who struggle to capitalize on the
country's as yet largely untapped oil and gas reserves.
Education for children in Mozambique is both free and compulsory up until the
age of 12yrs however books and other essentials are not, putting it beyond the
reach of many poor families.
There are currently 700,000 children out of school in the country; many of them
girls and those who do attend are faced with teachers who have been poorly
educated themselves and run down schools without the bare essentials of desks or
even chairs with many, in class sizes of around 90, having to learn whilst
sitting on a dirt floor.
Around 14.4 million out of the country's 23.4 million population live in rural
communities relying on traditional and unmodernised subsistence farming to
survive with most living in food insecurity being most vulnerable to the regular
natural disasters that befall the country.
The main crops include maize,
cassava, rice, sorghum, millet, cowpeas and groundnuts. The average farm size is
1.4 hectares and is called a called ‘machamba’.
Children in Mozambique normally have around two siblings and they face an
uncertain future living in one of the world's highest rates of HIV prevalence
countries which is currently running at 11.5%.
The problem is so acute that of the country's 2,100,000 orphans, 25% of them
have been orphaned through AIDS. With 85 babies being born HIV+ every day in
Mozambique it is estimated that 19,000 children will die each year from the
virus, many because of poor access to health facilities.
One of the issues in Mozambique for many children is not having a birth
certificate. That may not seem important, but without such a document they
cannot prove who they are or that they have a right to live in their own
This video (opposite) shows Mozambique children attending their school as part
of the Schools for Africa project, (a partnership between UNICEF, the Nelson
Mandela Foundation and the Hamburg Society).