Bristol Link with Beira has launched an urgent appeal to support Beira in mitigating the effects of the virus.
Overcrowding, poor healthcare, poverty and the economic situation, means that the impact of Covid-19 in Mozambique could be devastating.
ADEL, our NGO partner in Mozambique has asked that BLB fundraise for communities in Beira to make face masks. This appeal is to purchase sewing machines and materials to make 10,000 face masks, and supplies of soap for 2,000 disadvantaged families in the informal settlements in Beira. This will help mitigate the impact of the coronavirus and help create a longer-term employment and community resource.
Moses Kakanu, Programmes Coordinator, for ADEL, has just reported “face masks are not readily available, a family of five or six must share one mask, exchanging with another family member when they come home – the situation is really dangerous”.
The WHO has stated “The spread of the new coronavirus has recently doubled its numbers. The confirmed cases in Africa shows just how quickly the pandemic is accelerating on the continent”.
There is additional concern for Mozambique as it has long borders, with six different countries, and Beira is a major international port.
The impact of Covid-19 on families and children already suffering from the long-term effects of catastrophic floods in 2000 followed by further massive damage from the 2019 Cyclone Idai is horrific. Mozambique’s health system is already overstretched by the high burden of other infectious diseases such as HIV and malaria. Most people do not have enough masks, soap or water to wash their hands frequently.
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Matacuane Primary School in Beira was badly destroyed during the Cyclone in March. Bristol Link with Beira has been working with the school for over 10 years and in August put £15,000 of its fundraising to help support the school together with a £10,000 grant from Bristol and District Rotary Club. A team of 4 volunteers from Team Rubicon UK spent 3 weeks in Beira supervising construction works. Whilst working on the school, the team were also able to repair a community centre for Amai Massane.
Bristol Link with Beira is now working with The BioFactory, as part of an Innovate UK project “Turning Poo into Power”, to convert human waste into fuel used for cooking, replacing the harmful charcoal fires that are currently used. The pilot project will be installed at Matacuane Primary School, to provide fuel for a kitchen on site to provide school meals.
Schools in Bristol are linked with schools in Beira and have benefited from teacher exchanges. Children from both cities are encouraged to understand the lives of each other through projects supported by the BLB and volunteer placements. A Mozambican storyteller, has been regular visitor to Bristol, working with schools, choirs and other groups telling stories and teaching songs.
The Brandon Trust and Accrideme have provided facilities and support for people with learning disabilities in Beira. This provided advice and ongoing support to people with a learning disability and their families and carers.
Students and teachers have been to Beira to work with ADEL and Adjomac in addition to their teaching workload.
BLB has highlighted some of the statistics and issues on exhibition panels for use in schools, libraries and community centres as well as at events across the city. BLB has supported work with AIDS orphans with literacy, basic English, basket making and machine sewing, to provide income generation skills. Coaching for Hope and other agencies ran a football project, training local coaches, youth workers and teachers in HIV/AIDS prevention.
Motivation supported by a small local Bristol charity, the Maureen Oswin Trust, sent technicians from Beira to train in Tanzania for wheelchair construction and maintenance. Following the training, technicians have been offered employment by Social Services in Beira.
ACTSA (Action for Southern Africa) supported the women’s organisation Amai Mussanhane to procure premises to provide a secure environment for its work with children, especially HIV/AIDS orphans. To mark International Women’s Day in 2009, BLB commissioned a short film of women talking about their lives in Beira. Following the cyclone in 2019, BLB provided funding for Team Rubicon to renovate their building which as well as accommodating a kindergarten, can be let out to generate income for Amai Mussanhane.
Council employees from Bristol have offered capacity building workshops in Beira, and some functionaries have visited Bristol to observe the working environment Over the years, several of Beira’s mayors have visited Bristol. Mayor Daviz Simango attended the 2018 Annual Summit of the Global Parliament of Mayors in Bristol, and received the Benjamin Barber Global Cities Award
Youth group Adjomac have been trained on a bottle-cutting project, enabling them to recycle glass bottles into crafts to fund their activities.
BLB supported ADEL, who ran a series of environmental workshops, planting sessions and clean-ups, with young people and community based organisations, to contribute to citizenship training.
Youth group Adjomac and a local entrepreneur in Beira developed a forestry project and tree nursery in Beira. This created a sustainable source of wood and provided work and other resources for local people.