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Flora Tabarira is 43 yrs old. She has been a widow for just over three years and as a single mother of 6 children, Flora has faced tremendous challenges supporting her children’s education. As the school terms began, so too did the stress, especially for her oldest son, David Jose Paulo (now 18 years), who had costly school fees. In addition, although she did not have to pay fees for her younger children, in accordance with Mozambique´s universal free primary school, there were still many other expenses associated with attending school, such as the purchase of uniforms and school materials. Flora often would have to keep her kids out of school because she simply could not afford to send them.
Participating in Africare’s Community-Based Orphan Care, Protection, and Empowerment Project (COPE) has brought hope to Flora and her family and increased the family’s household income. She was introduced to the program in 2008, a time that was especially difficult for her, having “lost hope” after her husband died, wishing he was still there to support the family, and striving for a greater support system. As she describes, “when I joined the Muzongo association, it felt like I was born into a new family.”
As a member of the Africare-supported Muzongo Association in Muzongo, Manica District, Manica Province, Flora participated in COPE-sponsored income generation activities to help her cover her children’s school expenses. In addition to receiving school uniforms and materials as part of the COPE Project, the Muzongo Association is engaged in a chicken raising scheme where at the end of each cycle/ phase, a few association members receive 50 chicks to raise in their homesteads to increase their income generation capacity. Members are selected on a rotation basis until all members have received chicks. They raise the chickens for resale and once they have generated enough profit to do so, purchase more chicks and select three members to receive their apportion of 50 chicks each to raise. Members continue to contribute to the growth of the association, and are equally dedicated to supporting the association to provide for remaining members yet to receive chicks. In addition, association members receive training from the association in the care of their chicks, and have also developed a community savings scheme to help association members manage the proceeds from their chick raising. From chicken raising proceeds alone, Flora is able to comfortably meet her household and school fees needs alike.
When her son completed 10th grade, Flora was overjoyed with his accomplishment and hopeful that he would advance in his education and become gainfully employed. His dream was to become a school teacher and to study at a teachers’ training college. Using the funds she had earned through the COPE income generation activities, she proudly supported him financially, which propelled him to the next stage—Chibata Primary School Teachers’ College. Upon graduation, David started teaching immediately. Flora was thankful that she did not have to shoulder the burden of supporting her family alone as a single mother. In her own words, “Africare has made a great change in my life. They have restored my hope and helped me in my time of need. I was not able to pay for the needs of my children -- even their schooling, but now I am proud to know that my son is a teacher from the money that came out of my work with the association and with Africare. Now I don’t suffer because of my husband’s death, I’m able to take care of my children and together we can live like other families."
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