Matuba (nr Chokwe) is 165km from Mozambique’s capital, Maputo
Ditosa Mozambique Ditosa is a twelve year old girl from the village of Matuba, near Chokwe in Mozambique. Ditosa’s parents died of HIV/AIDS some years ago. Ditosa’s community is fighting to help children orphaned by AIDS with help from Caritas Australia’s partner, Caritas Chokwe.
In Matuba, most of the houses are built of mud bricks. There is no sewerage system, so the toilets are deep holes in the ground surrounded by reed screens. Until two years ago, Ditosa’s family had to walk 2km to collect water. Very few houses have electricity.
Many children in this area have lost one or both of their parents to AIDS. In Mozambique, an estimated 11.5% of adults live with HIV. In Matuba, this proportion is even higher.
Many grandparents are left to provide for their grandchildren. Ditosa and her little sister Fique are looked after by their grandmother and aunt, both of whom are too sick to work.
Through the help of Caritas Chokwe, Ditosa goes to the Matuba Children’s Centre for orphaned and vulnerable children, where she and other children learn computer and craft skills…
…as well as enjoying carpentry and jewellery-making.
The children also learn how to raise chickens, to eat and sell.
On the Centre’s land is a pump feeding a large storage tank. Pipes take clean water to two taps in the village. One of these is 500m from Ditosa’s house, greatly reducing her journey to collect water.
The water is also used to irrigate the Centre’s vegetable garden, where the children grow maize, peanuts, manioc, sweet potato, tomatoes and beans to eat and sell. Produce from the Centre is sold at a nearby shop to raise money for food, medicines, school uniforms and transport for older students, whose school is 10km from Matuba.
The Centre is a happy place to be. Ditosa’s favourite activity is jewellery-making, but she also appreciates the extra help she receives with schoolwork.
The food, medicines and support Ditosa and her family receive from the Centre are a lifeline for them. By accepting one child per family, the Centre aims to support more of the many families affected by HIV/AIDS in Matuba.
With your support, Matuba Children’s Centre opens doors for children and young people. Here, they find hope for the future and a safe place where they can grow. “I know the Centre will help them in life. We teach them that, even if they don’t have parents, we are together with them” says Elvira Mabundi, the Centre’s coordinator.
Update - Mozambique Floods Unfortunately, in late January, Matuba suffered severe flooding which forced Ditosa, her family and her community to seek safety in a camp 30km away. While early reports indicate the Matuba Children’s Centre was able to withstand the floods, the mud brick homes where most people live, did not. The floods have affected 150,000 people.
Caritas Australia is providing immediate emergency response to help the affected communities through the provision of shelter, food and water, sanitation and medical supplies. After the immediate emergency response phase, Caritas Australia, through Project Compassion, will continue to support the people of Matuba. We will help rebuild their vibrant community so the residents can look to the future with hope in their hearts. Emergency Response
Join us in Project Compassion: Let’s work together for justice and a brighter world.