The first time the mission team found Anifa, she was toasting dried maize for her family; it was their lunch time meal, one week after cyclone hit the village.
It was Anifa who convinced her family to be interviewed and listed for the diocesan relief program.
They had been planning to move away to other side of the Lurio river, exchanging their labour for food which is how people in northern Mozambique normally cope with hard times of hunger: working for a landlord, in exchange for food rations.
Unfortunately, this meant Anifa would have to drop out from school – something she was trying hard to avoid.
When the first food aid arrived, Anifa and her family received their share (above left): their plans to move away changed immediately and Anifa went back to school.
At a visit by Bishop Manuel and senior Diocesan staff members to Chimoio, Anifa received the materials she needed for her schooling. (Photo right)
When she was asked about her families plans to cross the big Lurio, she said in a typical local shy voice ‘n’nari’- ‘No, I have changed my mind, I need to finish school’.
Anifa‘s story inspired and has continued to inspire many more children. Her story is very similar to many of those living in the aftermath of cyclones Idai and Kenneth.
Although the food aid received had a dramatic effect on the whole family, it is Anifa who felt the most benefit. She was able to stay in her village and continue with her learning (Below left). It is these quite small gestures that are beginning to change people’s lives. Hunger and poverty caused by climate emergencies are major triggers of social ills for those in rural communities such as the one Anifa lives in.
It was the delivery of the food aid and school materials that enabled this change to happen. If a vehicle had not been available, the outlook for Anifa would have been in a very different direction – dropping out of school, forced marriage, early pregnancy, gender dependency.
Anifa would have been one of many among numerous and poor rural households. But now she is inspired and hopefully reversing her previous fate.
The impact on families affected by climate change can be devastating.
Together we can touch lives, one at time, and help our brothers and sisters in Mozambique.