Neema, 11, raises her hand in a classroom in Zavala, Mozambique, where ChildFund has supported the building of new schools. Photo by Jake Lyell.
ChildFund has worked in Mozambique since 2005. Although the country shows signs of tremendous potential, the social and economic problems that plague Mozambique are serious, and more than half the country's population of 23.5 million people live in poverty. Food scarcity and access to health care are among Mozambique's most urgent problems, but the availability of education is also a major issue. Without adequate education, children in Mozambique have little chance of overcoming and breaking the cycle of generational poverty. For this reason, ChildFund has made expanding access to education a priority.
According to UNICEF, primary school enrollment rates have improved dramatically in recent years, with virtually all children attending some form of school. Although this is encouraging, the education system in Mozambique still faces several difficulties. For example, although many children enroll in primary school, the dropout rate remains startlingly high, with almost half of children dropping out before they reach fifth grade.
One of the most urgent problems that needs to be addressed is classroom overcrowding. In some schools, as many as 90 children are crammed into a single classroom, which not only poses challenges in terms of access to books and other materials, but also reduces the time teachers can spend with individual pupils. This can be especially damaging if children have special educational needs or struggle with the material.
In addition, student-teacher ratios average out to 74 to 1 in lower grades, which puts teachers under great pressure. Teacher shortages have also resulted in educators having to work double or even triple shifts to accommodate the number of students in their classrooms.
Another challenge for Mozambique's education system is a lack of teacher training. Although most educators do their best, many simply do not have the time or resources to engage in professional development classes and other training that would make them more effective instructors.
Brick by Brick
ChildFund recognizes how important education is to children in need. We currently work in 10 of the country's most deprived provinces, and since 2005, we have helped more than 12,000 children.
One of our primary objectives in Mozambique is to support the construction of schools to ease overcrowding and reduce the burden on teachers. In addition to building new schools, we have also been involved in numerous other projects, such as supplying desks, chairs and other essential furniture to under-resourced schools, as well as providing children with textbooks and other academic materials.
Although the construction of new schools is vital to overcoming Mozambique's education problems, raising awareness of the value of education among community members is equally important. To address this, ChildFund has established parent-teacher councils in many communities.
One of the key challenges facing ChildFund in Mozambique is the relatively high cost of operating in the country. We are helping our local partners strengthen their organizations in Mozambique's poorest communities, but this stretches our limited resources. Without your help, many children will go without the education they need to break the cycle of poverty and live more fulfilling lives.
Child sponsorship is the best way you can help us invest in the future of a child in Mozambique. For just $28 per month — less than the price of a daily cup of coffee — you can help ensure a boy or girl living in Mozambique has access to the food, health care and education he or she needs.