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My future is my education

© UNICEF Mozambique/2011/MC Mukangendo

CHIBUTO DISTRICT, Mozambique, 10 July 2011 – Artelinda is 13 years old and is currently enrolled in the 7th grade at the Escola Primaria Completa Barrio 3 da Cidade in Chibuto, a Child Friendly School (CFS). In this interview, she tells us about her life and explains how education will help her achieve her dreams.This is her story.

“I was seven years old when I started attending school. Those were special days because my dad registered me in the same school were my favorite uncle was teaching. I still remember that my father took me there. I was happy to be in school because I could play and learn and go see my uncle when I was sad.

Presently, I live with my grandmother because my mother and my dad separated in 2004, soon after I started school. Both my parents remarried, and I was sent to stay with my grandmother. On my father side, my step mother doesn’t like me, so I avoid going to visit. She doesn’t talk or intend to establish a relationship with me, so when I go there, I feel isolated. Their separation has made me very sad because my mother ended up leaving Chibuto to  go and stay in Maputo, the capital city, and I don’t get to see her often enough. My mum often sends some clothes and other things, she visits three or four times per year, and we speak sometimes, on the cell phone she bought for me last year. I like to tell her about my life in Chibuto and about my secrets. I really miss my mother’s love. Sadly, my phone got stolen the other day in school, and I have not found it yet.

I prefer to stay with my grandmother. Unfortunately, when I do my homework, she cannot really help much because she doesn’t know how to read and write. Well, only a little bit. She is an analphabet. In my country, there was a terrible civil war, so she didn’t manage to go to school, but she is my role model. She is the one that teaches me about everyday things, morals and respect towards others. My family never objected to me attending school, and my uncle is the one who supports me the most. He provides me with school materials when my grandmother cannot afford to buy them for me, like this year. I did not receive enough books for school, but my uncle made sure to find me the ones that were missing. He  is now the pedagogical director of one of the schools here in Chibuto.

© UNICEF Mozambique/2011/MC Mukangendo
Artelinda in front a drawing she designed herself. The drawing is about her dream to become an accountant when she grows up.

The best thing about going to school is that I get to understand the subjects of my teachers. I’m always the first one to raise my hand to answer questions in class. I like to discuss with my school mates the issues that I feel are important. For example, when I’m preparing for my exams, I like to share my questions and thoughts with other school friends. Since I’m in the 6th grade, I have been elected class representative, both by my teachers and by my school mates. All the others students respect me because I’m the Chefe de Turma responsible for issues ranging from hygiene to school events and other things. One of my duties is to be in charge of ensuring the value of respect between students and teachers, reminding each student of their duties and establishing committees to help me with my tasks. In the beginning of the year we elected a student responsible for hygiene, and she reports to me, but at the end of the day we all help each other in these tasks. I also have an alternate when I’m sick.

Though school I have the opportunity to make friends. My best friend is Linda. We attend the same class and are inseparable. We have the same interests and have so much fun together. We are treated like twins because we are always together, and we share the same ideas and the same taste in clothes. They also make fun of us because our names end the same way: she is Linda, and I’m Artelinda. It’s funny.

The worst thing about my school is that we do not have enough class rooms and that the windows are often broken. They class rooms are all crowed; we can be over 60 students in one class. It’s difficult for the teacher to maintain discipline, and I hate it when others make noise, because then I cannot follow the class, and the teacher gets impatient. I wish we had more activities in school, like sports.

When I finish school one day, I dream of going to university to become an accountant. I like numbers and dream of working in a bank one day. I often receive money from my dad, and I go to the bank to deposit it. I like the feeling of walking into the bank. When I’m inside, I observe when the cashier takes my money and I keep the slips tidy. I pray every day to get enough strength to finish all my studies, so I can one day study accountancy and get a good job. My education is the most important thing for me and for my community. If I succeed, I will be able to help my brothers and sisters. I tell them always to be dedicated to their studies, like I am. I do this every day.”

For more information, please contact

Gabriel Pereira, UNICEF Mozambique, tel. (+258) 21 481 100; email:



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