The Born Positive Trust

Our Work

CYCLONE IDAI

Cyclone Idai Beira

Dear supporters, hopefully you will have already seen in international news the humanitarian crisis that is affecting Mozambique.

Like many, we’ve been following the situation as closely as possible and feeling extremely helpless and lost for words at the plight of so many people.

Firstly, we would like to express our deepest, deepest condolences to all the men, women and children who have lost their lives, are still stranded in conditions beyond comprehension, those who have been separated from loved ones because the rescue boats simply cannot save everyone – and, to those who have now reached ‘safety’ which equates to dryer land and not much else. Our hearts are with you all and we are sharing your pain and your tears – we are praying for you.

Secondly, we have received a number of messages asking if our friends, families and partner projects in Mozambique are ok – which they are. The regions we have worked in, and where our friends and family live, are much further south. For this we are extremely thankful.

Relief efforts on the ground in Beira, the worst affected area in Mozambique, are still in ‘life-saving’ stages, with many, many people still stranded on trees/roof tops surrounded by water as far as the eye can see. Manpower and resources seem to be increasing by the day as the extent of the disaster is realised across the world. We commend the teams there, who are working in extremely challenging conditions – they are saving lives, but they cannot save them all.

Those who have been saved are camping out in great numbers in temporary camps, or in buildings that are still standing. Getting food, water, blankets and medical supplies to these people is equally as challenging – the roads into Beira have been destroyed so aid and equipment must be flown in.

HOW TO HELP

The UK has now launched a joint appeal, via the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) which brings together 14 UK charities to raise money to help those impacted by disaster, making sure that funds reach those that need them most. The UK Government are also matching pound for pound the first £2 million donated by the public to this appeal. We believe this to be a credible platform to donate to from the UK, they are experts in humanitarian aid and have the platform available to help NOW – we do not want to detract from this.

https://donation.dec.org.uk/cyclone

Longer term, we expect there to be huge numbers of unaccompanied and orphaned children who will need our help. The effects of this disaster will remain with them for rest of their lives, long after the relief efforts have gone and Beira rebuilds itself. When the situation stabilises we will be reaching out to grass root projects on the ground who are supporting these children – so we can support them – you can help us prepare for this in the usual ways. To clarify, this funding will not be put to use immediately, we will look to visit and grant funding to these projects later this year when they will need us – to support the relief efforts now, please support the DEC above.

http://www.bornpositive.co.uk/donate

If anyone has any questions or fundraising ideas or anything else – please do get in touch – there is great power in people coming together to help.

Old Ways Won’t Open New Doors

(Original announcement posted on the Born Positive Facebook Page on 15th April 2018)

Dear friends and supporters,

You may have noticed that we have been a bit quiet over the last few months and we feel it’s time to explain why and update you on what’s next for The Born Positive Trust!

For the past year the project on the ground that we were predominantly supporting in Mozambique faced a number of challenges, mainly with staffing issues but also with some of the children being moved around within their extended family and unfortunately becoming unreachable (an issue which is sadly all too common with orphan and vulnerable children).

For this reason, the Born Positive Trust in the UK ceased funding to the project on the ground in Mozambique until further notice. In December 2017 our Mozambican Representative, Sergio Pascoal, conducted home visits to all families who had been receiving support and provided a detailed report on each family’s situation – they were all found to be doing well and it was concluded that the project having to close would not have serious* consequences to their wellbeing. Despite this they were all very grateful for the help received over the last 4 years and we remain in contact with all of them, should they need it, for social support and advice going forward.

As a registered trust fund in the UK, governed by the original founders; Amy, Vicky, Luke and Rosie – we are able to continue the work of The Born Positive Trust by fundraising and supporting any project in Mozambique that furthers our objective – ‘The relief of poverty, sickness and hardship of orphaned and/or vulnerable children in Mozambique, including, but not solely, those affected by HIV by providing funding, resources, training, mentoring and support to grass root projects working with such children’ – and we absolutely intend on continuing our purpose in the country we love and care for very much.

At the end of 2017 we decided to support a new project run by Vision Mozambique. Their work involves caring for children in an orphanage as well as helping those children to find a family where possible, supporting widows and developing churches and new leaders in poor communities. We had the honour of buying every child in their orphanage a new school uniform, bag and educational materials/supplies ready for the school year. We were also touched to hear that there were no plans for a Christmas celebration due to lack of funding. So, we decided to fund a Christmas party for the children and staff.

We are excited for the future and look forward to supporting more projects that are doing some truly wonderful work in caring for the children of Mozambique.

Best wishes, Amy, Vicky, Luke and Rosie

The Born Positive Trust – Trustees.

*Use of the word ‘serious’ is intended to mean that each family’s basic needs such as food, water, shelter, education and health are now able to be met without continued support from Born Positive.

End of Year Reflection 2015

2015 banner

Introduction

Here we go again, another end of year reflection. The end of 2015 marked the end of our third year as a charity; it was a TOTALLY different year to the ones previous with so many new experiences and things to learn along the way. Before we get into details, let’s cover off the biggy – being registered with the Charity Commission of England and Wales and what this now means for Born Positive.

On the 14th September 2015 we (Luke, Vicky, Rosie and I) got the email. The Born Positive Trust had been registered as a UK charity and given this wonderful number to prove it – 1163552. The application process had taken months and demanded a lot of our attention during 2015. But what does it all mean!? Well, quite simply the Charity Commission is the body that registers and regulates charities in England and Wales; they ensure that the public can support charities with confidence. For us it means a ton of extra paper work, reporting and financial procedures – but despite the extra workload, this is what we want. It is so important for Born Positive to be trusted and respected and for everything we do to be transparent. With the new status we have already created a profile on JustGiving, receive lower commission rates with PayPal donations, can claim gift aid and much more.

So, are we called Born Positive, or the The Born Positive Trust? Here’s a quick update on the new structure of the organisation:

The Born Positive Trust (or Born Positive UK)

The newly registered Born Positive Trust in the UK is governed by the four founding trustees, Amy, Luke, Vicky and Rosie. We are responsible for all funding and assets donated by you, our supporters. We hold all funding received in the Born Positive UK bank account and it is our responsibility to grant these funds to projects in Mozambique that meet our objectives and criteria – in short, we make sure that the money you donate reaches Mozambique and is spent responsibly and as requested by you. We have no overheads, pay no salaries and undertake the running of the trust voluntarily.

Click here to see our governing document

Click here to see our Grant Making Policy

Associacao Born Positive

Associacao Born Positive is the project on the ground in Mozambique which you have all come to know so well. It is now governed by 10 founding members, all of whom are Mozambican and headed up by Herminio Generoso (AKA Gen) – the project director. Gen and his team run the grass root project on the ground in Mozambique and they work directly with the children, families and communities.

Every month the team in Mozambique send their operational budget over to The Born Positive Trust in the UK for the trustees to review. On agreement of the activity and amount requested we will transfer the funding over. This is then followed up with an update of all activity which has taken place each month and most things are documented on the facebook page.

Associacao Born Positive are in the process of registering as an NGO in Mozambique and are also starting to raise additional funding and material donations within Mozambique meaning they are not solely reliant on funding from the UK.

The facts and figures

In 2015 The Born Positive Trust in the UK raised a total of £6,993.95 and started the year with a balance carried over from 2014 of £1,200.99 – which gave us a grand total of £8,194.94 available throughout the year.

£3,805.49 was sent to Associacao Born Positive in Mozambique (an average of £317 per month, see the standard budget here)

£576.39 was spent in the UK on expenses and materials

£3,813.06 was the balance remaining in the account when we closed the year and has been carried over into 2016 (we received a donation of £2,000 in late November which made this balance more than expected).

#BornPosBracelets!

In 2014 the re-sale of Alzira’s bracelets made us £335.38 compared to a massive £930.14 in 2015!

Achievements in 2015

  • The Born Positive Trust registering with the Charity Commission in the UK
  • Welcoming Generoso to the team as Director of Associacao Born Positive in Mozambique
  • Recruiting new volunteers to the project in Mozambique
  • Receiving repeat funding from the Lions Club Germany
  • Receiving funding from NCS Oxfordshire
  • Receiving funding from Oxted school
  • Receiving a large donation of materials and food in Maputo from a local event
  • The #BornPosBracelet project has made big progress with Alzira becoming more and more independent and the amount of bracelets bought and resold increased considerably
  • We reached 1000 likes on Facebook
  • Amazing improvements in all the families and massive development in all the children
  • To date 12 orphan children have directly benefited or are continuing to benefit from our support, and an estimated 60+ children and adults have indirectly benefited from the project

Difficulties in 2015

  • A member of the team in Mozambique was found to have stolen some money and was very difficult to manage
  • Payment for rent of the office each month was sometimes challenging because of the short turnaround time with budget request and delays with the international money transfer
  • None of the team members in Mozambique are paid salaries which puts a limit on the amount of hours we can ask them to volunteer, it is also harder to find skilled people to give up their time
  • The UK trustees all have full time commitments which limits the time they can dedicate to fundraising
  • Generoso lives permanently in the UK and although he travels to Mozambique, he coordinates most of the operations and team members on the ground remotely
  • Although funding comes regularly we need a lot more to take the project in Mozambique to the next level

Focus for 2016

  1. Registration of the project in Mozambique
  2. New office – we will be actively seeking a new office in a location around Matola
  3. New vehicle – we will be searching for a new vehicle with more space for passengers and food deliveries
  4. Home visits – we plan to launch a new initiative where a short lesson will be delivered to all the families during the home visits each month. The lessons can be about 20 minutes long and cover any topic of interest to the welfare of the kids and families e.g. washing hands, brushing teeth, writing names etc.
  5. New families – it has been decided that we won’t actively seek new families until the registration process is moving forward and until we have found a new location for our permanent office
  6. Website update

All in all it was a successful year and progression was made, although more and more of our time is being taken up with admin and paperwork which is taking some adjustment. But despite all this and the new structure we are still all very much one big team and family who all share so much love for the children in Mozambique – we’ll continue to strive to do all we can to help them grow up in loving homes. As always, if you feel compelled to help please just let us know.

Thanks for reading, Amy Hulme

P.S. Here’s a very special thank you to the volunteers who gave so much of their time to the project in Mozambique during 2015; Galdeu, Arlirio and Greta.

Announcement!

charity registration banner

Dear loyal supporters and friends,

We, the founders of Born Positive, can barely contain our pride, elation and joy at the news that we are now officially recognised as a charity by the Charity Commission of England and Wales; our registration number is: 1163552

Click here to view our listing on the Charity Register

It’s safe to say that the last 3 years have been a long walk up a very, very steep hill. However, with determination, team work, your support and belief and most of all, the crazy love we have for the children in Mozambique – we have done it!

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be making some changes to our website and explaining the structure of Born Positive in the UK and in Mozambique in more detail – watch this space.

With thanks and love,

Amy Hume, Vicky Parker, Luke Fellone and Rosie Johnson.

Rosie, Amy, Luke and Vicky in Mozambique 2012.

Rosie, Amy, Luke and Vicky in Mozambique 2012.

Driving licence for Galdeu!

Galdeu hard at work in the office and next to the car he will soon be able to drive!

Galdeu hard at work in the office and next to the car he will soon be able to drive!

Galdeu joined the Born Positive team in Mozambique during May this year as a volunteer. He is 18 years old and has a keen interest in car mechanics – he happens to be very useful in this department, and has already saved us from a flat battery incident!

Since May, Galdeu has been overseeing operations in Mozambique. This involves:

  • Writing budgets and monthly plans
  • Recording and filing all the accounts
  • Calling all our families to arrange monthly home visits
  • Physically doing all the monthly home visits, and all the preparation that goes with for example buying groceries for the food deliveries, sorting through donated clothes/school materials
  • Following up after each home visit with an update on how it went and sending photographs
  • Communicating all the activity with the other team members in Mozambique
  • Communicating all the activity to us here in the UK

And he is doing such a sterling job! He is so reliable and has demonstrated commitment from the beginning.

One thing that hinders the operation in Mozambique is that Galdeu doesn’t have a driving licence, meaning he has to rely on other peoples availability to drive him around. He can drive, but just needs to go through the motions and pay for his licence card.

It is our great pleasure to be funding this for Galdeu.

We wish him all the best and hope to see him progress further with the team in Mozambique.

Galdeu on a home visit to Rafael

Galdeu on a home visit to Rafael

Born Positive Bracelet Interview

Interviewing Alzira and Abrahamo

Interviewing Alzira and Abrahamo

1st Birthday of the #BornPosBracelet project!

On Monday 25th May 2015, we facilitated the Born Positive home visit to Jacinto and Annabella. It was a special visit because Generoso, our new Director of Mozambique was meeting the family for the first time. It was equally special because it marked almost 1 year since the launch of the #BornPosBracelet business.

The bracelet project was established as a long term revenue generating and poverty alleviating answer to a common problem in Mozambique – relatives wanting to adopt their orphaned nieces, nephews, grandchildren etc and get them out of orphanages or vulnerable situations but not being able to afford to.

With your help we can quite easily deliver food, pay for school fees, donate clothes and help a relative care for an orphan child. In the short term all these methods are fine, because the quicker a child can be re-settled in a family the better. But for our work to be sustainable, there has to be a longer term solution that enables the head of the house to eventually stand on their own two feet.

Mentoring our families and helping them start up a business is proving the best way to do this. Aunty Alzira and Uncle Abrahamo’s #BornPosBracelet business has quickly enabled them to handcraft, sell and earn significant money. They are able to care for their orphaned niece and nephew, Annabella and Jacinto, as well as their 5 biological sons.

On this particular visit, Generoso asked a couple of questions and Abrahamo and Alzira’s answers blew us away…we knew we were on the right track, but to hear such feedback direct from the mouths of our beneficiaries was enough to bring us to happy tears!

Herminio Generoso and Amy Hulme interviewing Alzira and Abrahamo, outside their home in the little village of Mahelane, Mozambique…

Q – Tell us how you feel about the service you have received from Born Positive?

“First we just want to say thank you to Born Positive, for all you have done. Not only for us but also for the other families that you have been helping.

Today our lives are completely changed from how we were before, when Jacinto and Annabella came to us they were really bad, they could not even go to the bathroom by themselves, or ask for help. They were not eating well and were very skinny. There were many problems.

With the great support from Born Positive we can say we have overcome these difficulties as a family, and the children are already eating and playing well. They can do most things in the same way we teach our children, even going to the bathroom by themselves and communicating in a polite way.”

Q – Has the bracelet project made any difference to your lives?

“With the draft of the bracelets from Born Positive we have totally stabilized our lives in the state of financial and food, for today we can buy things ourselves like soap, rice, sugar etc with the money from sales of the bracelets. We have started to build a new house and already have built an extra bedroom outside. And our joy does not end here for this project not only helps Jacinto and Annabella but also totally changes the lives of all our family members.

And how much joy we have to say that our children already attend creche in our village where they going to learn and communicate better as well as make friends. Our children are speaking very well and especially Jacinto who could not even speak at all for a long time.”

Q – Do you think that Jacinto and Annabella are enjoying a better quality of life as part of your family, than if they were in an orphanage?

“Yes, they are. But we should be honest and say that when the children arrived with us it was very, very hard. They were very small and difficult to look after with their behaviour and health problems. Especially with having young children of our own. Without the support from Born Positive maybe we could have given up.

But now, life is much better for all of us. The children are part of our family now and we love them as if they are our own. They are becoming good children, we are always teaching them to be polite and respect others.

We can say again that with the bracelet project, it has made everything possible.”

Q – Do you think the service that Born Positive provides, could be the answer to finding more families for the thousands of orphans in Mozambique?

“It is hard to answer that question, because many people are different. But yes we do hope that the Born Positive’s help does not stop here with us, because we would like that you could help more families to share the same joy from the heart that you offered us.

We would to say to you that not only are you helping orphan children like Jacinto and Annabella, your service and support with our own business is changing all our lives – our whole family.

Finally just our thanks to Born Positive especially to all those who directly or indirectly has helped us via Born Positive, in giving clothing, hygiene product and school supplies for our children and the biggest thanks of all to everyone who is buying our bracelets!”

Bracelets are £1.50 each – to place your order, email ahulme.marketing@gmail.com or send us a message on our facebook page or for more information click here.

Crafting

Crafting

#BornPosBracelets

#BornPosBracelets

#BornPosBracelets

Annabella and Jacinto

End of year reflection 2014

Born Positive

Where did the last year go?!

As I sit down to type up this report, I have glanced down at my calendar and noticed it’s already February. Which is definitely late for posting our end of year reflection for 2014, but better late than never – and 2014 was just so cram packed full of achievements that I CANNOT not share it with you all.

If you can, please allow yourself 20 seconds, to open THIS LINK and skim read last years end of year reflection – which highlighted the successes and challenges we faced in 2013, our first year as a charity. I insist you do this, because I just did the same and the growth we’ve achieved (that’s us at Born Positive and all of you) from our first year to our second year will make you raise your eyebrows.

2014 – the facts and figures

From the 1st January – 31st December 2014, our second year as a charity, we raised a total of £7,236.00. (Just in case you didn’t read last years report, that’s an increase of more than £5,000 on the year before). It is important for me to note, that the vast majority of all donations we received came from individuals, not only does this prove the truth in ‘every little helps’ but also that we have a really loyal and trusting following of supporters.

From the 1st January – 31st December 2014 we sent a total of £6,842.37 directly to our project on the ground in Mozambique. (Which is over £6,000 more than we sent the year before).

Achievements in 2014

  • On the 6th February we started a pie in the sky fundraising campaign to buy ourselves a vehicle so that we could reach more orphan children living in vulnerable situations, after 6 months of hard work and dedication we managed to buy Pedro, our Mitsubishi Pajero, from one of our partner orphanages in Mozambique.
  • We partnered with AACOSIDA Orphanage, and have worked together to identify more orphan children who are living in vulnerable situations.
  • We increased our monthly home visits and support in the areas of food, health care, education and business creation from 1 family, caring for 2 orphan children – to 7 families who are caring for a total of 9 orphan children.
  • Our funds have paid for 4 children,under the age of 5, to attend creche 5 days a week. Where they have all received nutritional food, pre-school education and a huge head start – we, and their adoptive families, have watched all of them grow and develop leaps and bounds.
  • We have delivered food and hygiene essentials every month to 1 of our families, an elderly grandmother caring for an orphaned baby boy.
  • We have transported the children to and from hospital when needed, including for HIV testing and other check-ups. As well as providing support and advice at anytime to the substitute families.
  • We have donated a lot of second hand clothes and shoes from our supporters in the UK.
  • We reached out our support to a 5 year old girl who had been abandoned, and have been overjoyed to watch her settle into her new home, find happiness again, attend creche and now start primary school.
  • We established the #BornPosBracelet project with the first family we began working with, now Mamma Alzira is able to handcraft her bracelets and earn enough money from selling them to comfortably support her family (including her 5 biological children, plus her orphaned niece and nephew – Jacinto and Annabella). This is the first of many business creation ideas that is inspiring other projects with our newer families. We have already sold over 300 bracelets and have sent orders to the UK, Tokyo, France and Holland.
  • We have appeared on 2 live TV interviews with TIM TV in Mozambique, where our project and missions have been communicated to a wide audience – particularly appealing to Mozambican youths to volunteer with us and be inspired to make a difference in their communities.
  • We have moved into our very first office in Maputo, Mozambique’s capital city.
  • We have recruited and trained our 10 founding members for Born Positive Mozambique, 9 of which are Mozambicans. They are now the governing authority of the project on the ground in Mozambique and the paperwork is being filed to register the organisation in Mozambique.
  • Our secretary and one of the 10 founding members in Mozambique, Estefania, has taken over the day to day running of the project and oversees all of the monthly home visits to our families.
  • We raised over £5,000 during the year, which means we are now eligible to register Born Positive UK with the Charity Commission of England and Wales.
  • As well as our 4 founding members in the UK, we have received a lot of voluntary fundraising support from all over the United Kingdom.

Difficulties in 2014

  • With the increase in our activity, we desperately needed a bigger team in Mozambique, this was a difficult recruitment process as we are not in a position to pay salaries at this stage.
  • One of the biggest challenges we continue to face in Mozambique is corruption, which results in being overcharged for things and processes taking a very long time.
  • Not yet being a registered organisation in Mozambique or the UK has a huge impact on our fundraising efforts, as for obvious reasons we are not always taken seriously.
  • As our activity in Mozambique increases and the organisation is growing, we are facing new protocols and procedures that we perhaps have little experience with.

Focus for 2015

  • Continuing our support to the families and children in Mozambique, with the hope of reaching further families later in the year (funding and man power depending).
  • Appealing for larger sums of funding from grant or corporate giving opportunities as well as continuing to nurture our individual donations base – so that we can continue to extend our reach to more orphan children.
  • Continuing the registration processes of Associacao Born Positive in Mozambique and of Born Positive Foundation in the UK.
  • To continue to mentor and provide training, resources and support to our team on the ground in Mozambique, so they can continue to uphold and exceed the standards we have put in place.
  • To be able to raise funds to pay at least small salaries to our Mozambican members of staff who work on the day to day running of the project.
  • To update the Born Positive website.

Closing comment…

2014 was definitely the most productive and rewarding year so far, and I have no doubt that next year I’ll write the same again about 2015. In many ways, it flew past – but it’s only when you sit and write about everything that happened that it seems a long 12 months – there were tears and laugher, challenge after challenge after challenge!! But nobody said starting a charity from scratch would be easy, in fact they said we were mad.

But now, here we are, already at the beginning of year 3. 9 children are sleeping peacefully in their homes this evening, they’ll wake up tomorrow wearing smiles, head off to creche or school and enjoy another day of being a normal Mozambican kid in a normal Mozambican family.

Please keep believing, because it’s working.

Amy Hulme – Co-Founder.

#BornPosBracelet Wedding Favours!

From one couple to another

From one couple to another

Well Alzira and Abrahamo’s handcrafted Born Positive bracelets are flying!

We were over the moon when two of our supporters from Holland asked if we could fulfil an order of bracelets for their wedding day in Portugal. Their guests all received a bracelet in the Born Positive colours and we commissioned two especially for the bride and groom in white, with one bead in each of the Born Positive colours…

“The Born Positive bracelets were the ideal wedding gift for all our guests and ourselves. Handmade In Mozambique by Alzira and Abrahamo and worn by Martien & Barbra! Everyone wore these bracelets during our wedding, such a special feeling.” – Martien Veenstra (The Groom!)

Thank you so much to Mr and Mrs Veenstra for allowing us to be part of their special day, and thanks to Alzira and Abramaho – our super bracelet makers for their hard work on the order.

The project is going from strength to strength and the family have already started building a new house with their profits.

Inspired? Want to place an order for a special event? Just let us know.

Email ahulme.marketing@gmail.com or send us a message on facebook.

Wedding favours Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 21.49.22

Annie’s Blog Entry 2

A Born Positive home visit.

A Born Positive home visit.

“You cannot change Africa. But Africa will change you”.

Living in Africa has started to feel very real now. To begin with I just didn’t register the reality of the situation I am in. Now, I’m coming to terms with the fact that the children I am living, talking, and laughing with here in AACOSIDA, are all affected by HIV/AIDS. The majority of their parents have died or are too sick to care for them, and as a result they are orphaned here. Some have even inherited the same disease which killed their parents. It seems so cruel that these children, some only six years old, have to live on medication to prevent the same long, painful death their parents (and countless others) have been through. And the medication itself may save their lives in one way, but the side effects caused by the same medicine and the stigma they face also condemns it. And through no fault of their own. Even the deceased parents cannot be blamed for passing the disease, whether it be due to the fact that they didn’t have access to contraception, or that the Mother was raped. We can play the blame-game forever and get nowhere. But right now, something can be done.

This realisation began when we visited Jacinto and Annabella (two sibling orphans that Born Positive has re-homed, which my fellow volunteer Vicky has written a blog about). It was then strengthened by two twin brothers here in AACOSIDA. From the first day we arrived here, these two young boys stuck out to me. The unhappiness in their body language was unmissable. They are identical even in their posture and mannerisms. Both stand with their arms crossed tight around their small chests, shoulders curved inwards, and eyes always looking at their feet. I later learned that their names are Nando and Jerson. Their Father left them when they were very little, and now their Mother is very sick and on her deathbed due to AIDS, so now they live here in the orphanage. After that initial meeting I have gotten to see their cheeky smiles when they are up to mischief, and before you know it you’re grinning along with them without even realising. But those moments are short lived. I also learnt that they get bullied here in the orphanage. The children here behave as any other child, sometimes they get on, sometimes they don’t. But the difference here is that all the children are psychologically traumatised, so being bullied is even more damaging. For example the other day Amy and I walked into the courtyard to find one of the elder boys dragging Jerson towards the large, concrete shed used for storage. He was crying and kicking the elder boy, desperate to get out of his grasp. Amy and I quickly approached and separated the two. As Amy lead the distressed child off I became aware of another screaming voice coming from inside the locked shed. Upon unlocking the bolt of the metal door I was horrified to find Nando standing inside amongst the storage. He was hysterical. Screaming as he hugged himself and shook. I speak little Portuguese, so I was no help in trying to comfort him or calm him down. Once I helped him out, I took him to Dumsane’s wife who could look after him. This is only one example of the bullying, since then there have been various other times we have witnessed these two boys being pushed around. Being in a situation where all you want to do is help, while knowing that you cannot do anything is hard enough for anyone. But knowing that these children are still grieving the loss of one parent or both without anyone to talk to is devastating.

DSCF3929 DSCF3931 DSCF3963

Since meeting them I have been in complete disbelief that these kids haven’t got any emotional support. In truth I wish I could help them, know their language fluently, or offer them somewhere where they feel safe. But there is only one person who can do that, and she is laying in a hospital bed somewhere, unable to care for her sons. In the UK, if a child’s parents pass away or are too sick to care for them they are taken to a foster home or to stay with a relative. As well as being around people they know well and staying in a positive environment, they will have access to professional counseling or therapy to help them accept the trauma. Here, however, the fate of the child varies. They may go and live with a relative, but siblings may have to be separated. They may end up in an orphanage, but only until they either find a substitute home or they have to leave due to there being few beds.

For the past few days I have been comparing Nando and Jerson’s situation here, to what would be done if it were happening in the UK. As I have mentioned, emotional support is one huge difference. But then I started to wonder what will happen because of this lack of support? Mental health appreciation is growing in the UK, with associations and charities like Time To Change, Samaritans, and Anxiety UK to mention a few. While in Mozambique it is treated like a crime, something to be hidden and locked away. If these children continue to grow up hiding their grief, it could result in a whole generation growing up with serious mental health problems. I was in fact talking to my fellow volunteer Vicky about this concern, and she told me of a friend who stayed with a host family in 2012 – also in Mozambique. The brother of the host father actually suffered from an unknown mental health condition, and due to this he was tied up in what could only be described as a shed, with just enough room to lay down. To think that he probably still lies there today due to something which he cannot control is deeply upsetting. And unfortunately, it is the fate of many others.

It is heartbreaking and sickening to witness only a glimpse of these children’s lives. But at the same time the greatest gift I will ever receive. To be inspired by only two little boys when a whole country, a whole continent cries the same message. Before my arrival in Maputo we stayed in Johannesburg for a few nights with friends. On our last night we went out for some drinks in the local bar. As we were sat, telling stories and drinking the night away, the woman we were staying with lent towards me and told me something I will never forget. She said “You cannot change Africa. But Africa will change you”. Only now am I truly realising the truth behind these words. At the time I believed her when she said it, but now not only do I see the truth, I also feel it. In my heart I already feel a change which is motivating me to use the skills I have to make a difference. No, I cannot change Africa. But I can change the lives of children in these situations, and so can you. Born Positive is working with these orphans and finding them a safe home where they can get the love and safety every child deserves. You can see the difference we’re making already on the Facebook page and this website! Great things are being achieved, but we need donations to keep them happening. What may seem like a small donation to you makes a huge difference here. So please, from Me, Amy, Vicky, Leo, and Flora here on the ground, and the children and families we are re-uniting – donate whatever you can. And thank you.

Esperanca and Amilcar’s Story…

Mama Esperanca and little Esperanca at their empty market stall

Mama Esperanca and little Esperanca at their empty market stall

On Wednesday 16th July Born Positive conducted the first home visit to a new substitute family, who are caring for an orphaned brother and sister. In Mozambique, there are no social workers or support systems in place to monitor the welfare of orphan children who are placed in families – in a country where poverty affects most of the population this can lead to orphan children being severely neglected.

Esperanca and her little brother, Amilcar, lost both their parents to the HIV/AIDS pandemic at just 3 years old and 6 months old. They were brought to our partner orphanage, AACOSIDA and shortly after a substitute mother, also named Esperanca, from their church group came forward and took them in. They have been living a happy life with her and her own daughter, Salmina ever since.

On visiting their home, it was immediately apparent that Mama Esperanca loves and raises them as her own. Although their house in the dusty suburbs of the capital city is basic, they do have access to electricity and running water. Both children are attending school and that is where Amilcar was during our visit – good sign!

Mama Esperanca does not have a reliable income and she depends mostly on food donations and help from family members to survive. We noticed a small but empty market stall outside her house on the road. We would like to help her purchase an initial stock of food items from the local warehouses so she can start a small business and generate some regular money for her family – going forward, it has been agreed that she must manage her cash flow effectively and buy her own stock replenishment. Born Positive will continue to guide her through this process should she need us.

Mama Esperanca is going to visit her local bulk suppliers and find the best prices, after which she will give us a quotation and we’ll accompany her to make her first purchase and help her with transport to and from.

We are appealing for a sponsor to help with the cost of this initial purchase, full details of the total price will be available shortly. If you think you can help please email us at: ahulme.marketing@gmail.com.