In March 2019 Cyclone Idai devastated much of Mozambique. Local contacts identified that despite humanitarian relief being provided by major aid agencies many people were missing out – particularly the elderly – and in desperate need of help. Privately sent funds were used by the team in Beira to provide emergency food hampers and water, and then to help repair and rebuild houses. This work highlighted the ongoing need for financial help.
In view of the clear and ongoing need and opportunity, and to build on this initial successful partnership, in the UK we established the charity “1 John 3:17-18 Beira”, and in Mozambique our partners have registered their project with the government: “Associacao Esperanca Aos Vulneravies” (Hope Association for the Vulnerable).
Each month a list of needs is created by the local team of volunteers in Beira (see photo), and those needs which can be funded are agreed. 1 John 3:17-18 Beira then sends the money. At the end of each month a report is received confirming how the funds were used, and providing photographs of the work, ensuring accountability.
The charity currently supports around seventy of the poorest people with food and fuel. We have built more than ten houses for those whose homes were demolished, and repaired many more. We support nursing students, apprentices, and those doing short term courses (IT, electrician, baking). We have provided business loans to around ten people. We have provided nearly a hundred fuel efficient stoves and planted over fifty trees.
The local team are passionate to improve the chances for the poor. At the most immediate level this involves providing food, fuel and medication for those who simply have no income. Blankets have been given to help keep warm at night in winter. Mosquito nets have been given out too.
Materials and where necessary labour are provided for repairing houses, adding cyclone protection measures and building new houses where homes have been destroyed. Innovative and environmentally friendly approaches to construction are being investigated, such as using waste plastic bottles as building material.
Education and training, and earning a living
In addition the project is able to make grants for school fees and uniforms, and for training and apprenticeships. These often cost less than £50 each, but give the beneficiary a future.
Small start-up business loans are made to pay for initial stock or in one case to buy a small cart to transport goods. Again these loans are often less than £50, and the recipients pay back as they can so that funds can be used for future loans.
Environmental projects that help the community
The team have worked with a local potter to design and manufacture efficient cooking stoves which not only save the user money by needing less charcoal, but also reduce CO2 emissions. These cost under £3 each, and are sold to those who can afford them or given freely to those who cannot.
A tree planting project is just beginning, with a first batch of fifty five trees being planted costing a little over £1 each. The local team would love to launch a programme of planting a million trees in Mozambique, in Beira and outside, and engaging pastors to encourage their members to plant trees.
The Associacao Esperanca Aos Vulneravies members continue to identify people with needs, and since the registration of the project there are more people able to help in the work.
In addition to continuing and growing the current work, we would like to provide toilets and drill wells for poorer communities. Many living with HIV refuse to take medication, and so we would like to establish counselling support.
We have reached a state where the funding that we are providing needs to increase to keep pace with the project opportunities, and so we are asking people of goodwill to join us in sending funds to support projects which are making a real difference in the lives of fellow human beings in one of the poorest countries in the world.
If you wish to support the project, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Phil and Cathy Hemsley, and John McCoach. Trustees, 1 John 3: 17-18 Beira