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It takes a village

In the new house, the sisters each have iron bunk beds and mosquito nets. At the entrance, they have carefully placed domestic utensils. Every day, someone from the community checks up on them.
© UNICEF Mozambique/2012/Mark Lehn
In the new house, the sisters each have iron bunk beds and mosquito nets. At the entrance, they have carefully placed domestic utensils. Every day, someone from the community checks up on them.

Glória and her sisters speak little, but the smiles say it all. It has not always been that way. After losing both their parents a few years ago, they were left all by themselves, living in a precarious house, destroyed twice in a storm. Then Glória got a job, caring for a baby in another city. The youngest sister also went away to work as a nanny, leaving the middle sister alone, to fend for herself.

But social services got wind of this case, during a monitoring visit in the area. And thanks to their intervention, the sisters were eventually reunited. They were also given food and material assistance. The sisters are living together in a new house with a sitting room and two bedrooms, and neighbours are never far away, and look out for them daily. Thanks to birth certificates, they are even able to attend school. With government-issued poverty certificates, the sisters are allowed free access to basic services, such as medical care and education. A local civil society association provided food and an income-generating project for Glória.

- We are very proud of the relationship we have with the community, says Júlio Samundine from the local association that identified the case.

In the new house, the sisters each have iron bunk beds and mosquito nets. At the entrance, they have carefully placed domestic utensils.

- We have also found them a plot of land to grow vegetables, and we will supply them with farming tools, explains Horácio Zambo, a social worker from the district. Their house will also be registered in their name.

Moreover, the community leader gave them permission to fetch water from the community fountain free of charge.

Generally, anyone using the fountain contributes with a symbolic, monthly tax towards maintenance costs, but this requirement is waived for underprivileged community members, such as Glória and her sisters. Every day, someone from the community checks up on them to make sure everything is alright. Their local church is also involved, so the girls are definitely not alone.

If anything, the story of Gloria and her sisters is the example that proves the old saying about how it takes a village to raise a child. And perhaps protect, feed, and love it, as well.

 

 
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