Mozambique, simply Moz. to most who know her, stretches in a leisurely arch for nearly 1500 miles along Africa’s east coast. On a world map you would look for it across from the huge island of Madagascar.
Moz is extraordinarily fertile ground for humanitarian work because the need is so great. First colonial exploitation and then civil war and recently floods have all but destroyed the nation’s economy and infrastructure. They are building now, but the way is difficult.
In the meantime, many children abandoned or orphaned need help. They can not wait for a more favorable economy or some vague, brighter tomorrow.
Orphans Unlimited presently serves in the northeastern part of the country – as you can see on the detailed map here. This part of Mozambique is so remote that even the relief agencies have no presence. The need is great.
Bread of Life Program Balama, Cabo Delgado Province has many different needs and furnishes the following programs.
1. Care for Orphans
2. Care for infants needing milk formula because their mother’s died in childbirth, or whose mother’s failed to make breast milk
3. Care for widows or abandoned women with severely malnourished or handicapped children
4. Care for teenagers who are disadvantaged and need help to get an education past 5th grade (where the village school stops).
The program brings the love of Jesus to these kids in a spiritually practical way. Our Sunday Schools teaches them about Jesus. The program is are growing rapidly, and we are expanding facilities to house additional children. Over 1,800 kids are cared for in the present program. Social Services continues to ask for our assistance.
It’s hard to believe but only $360 a year is needed to care for a child in our program. How can we do it so inexpensively? By keeping the kids in their culture, building with local materials, and eating nutritious diets from local foods.
Why is help needed? Mozambique has no government funds to help these kids, and until Jesus sent us, the death rate in Balama area alone was 6 kids /week! If a mother died and the baby was still a milk dependent infant, it’s only chance of survival was if a woman volunteered to wet nursed it. No milk formula existed in this area. Few women produce enough breast milk for 2 babies, as evidenced by the 9 sets of twins and 1 set of triplets in our program. Baby Formula cost $6/week/baby which is way beyond the means of a family whose annual income is $90/YEAR.
The Bread of Life program in Balama, northern Mozambique, is our main base. The orphans in this area have little hope of survival without our weekly food give out. The world-wide weather changes which began in 2011 greatly affected rain and temperature patterns in northern Mozambique. Many of our widows lost their fields in March, 2012 due to too much rain in the early growing stages or too little rain just before harvest. The women we assist have been either widowed or abandoned, leaving them to “make do” with local foods such as leaves, roots, and wild fruit. Our Balama county Doctor began work in Oct. 2010. Her first comment to me after touring Balama’s remote area was “why are we not seeing malnourished children in these areas, as this is very different from all other counties I’ve been in. She was not aware of our program to prevent malnutrition and her surprise at the results shows us that it is working.
WE DON’T JUST HAND OUT FOOD.
Prime Objective: TO EDUCATE and ENABLE the mothers and teenage orphans in proper child care, nutrition and agriculture. We provide them with a hoe and good seed so they can start over. It takes a full year of assistance since they must have one planting year with good harvest before they are self sufficient again. In 2010 we started a better education program that teaches widows and teenagers the proper sanitation for the home, how to cook better meals, as well as reading and writing, and a basic job skill so they can support their family. All children in our program are enrolled in school as education is the key to defeating poverty.