Sunday, March 8, 2015

Working in Maputo with Handicap International

In February I had the opportunity to do the evaluation of one of Handicap International's project in Mozambique, about the inclusion of people with disabilities in the education system.
I got to spend some time with incredible people and hear their stories, hear their motivations, dreams.
People with disability are badly discriminated in Mozambique: lack of access, constant insults, they are made responsible for their disability, are frequently abused and often hidden and locked at home.
Handicap's team, with the government are changing that attitude.
They go door to door, chat with the people, give them motivation, strength and possibilities. Bring people to school or literacy classes, have access to welfare services, health care or counselling.
All the things that maybe are economically irrelevant, and certainly not priorities or profit making. They actually cost money. And are not sustainable as such. Economically.
But what a difference it makes in terms of happinness, of community building, of relationships and self esteem.
Best investment ever.
They make life better. And that is priceless.    

Lady Carlota, a childhood spend in an institution, now living with her toddler and another youth she met in the institution. He was probably not looking good enough for his family who preferred to dump him. She is his family now, he is hers. 
She is just amazing, a chatty smile full of good spirit and excellent fun. She introduced me to the people she met in her community, the people she is visiting and their families. She know each one, their stories, their dreams, their frustrations and joys. 
She is a beautiful great soul. 
I have met others like her, just could not sketch them, Maria, Bernardo, Esmeralda, David, Samito, Innocencia, etc. etc. 


A couple of sketches done in a literacy class. The teacher earns 20 usd/month (a fifth of the minimum wage). They are in charge of the shortfalls of the formal education system. In their class: the drop out kids, illiterate adults and people with disability (mental, sensorial and physical).

I am always amazed that in the worst situations, one always find the greatest bits of humanity. It is truely in the worst that one can experience and live beauty.
The people working with street kids, abused children, those who lost everything,... are amazing. They are showing so much hope, and really believe in the goodness of humankind, its capacity to do better, to expand boundaries and go beyond differences. I am blessed to meet so many of them with my job. You see nightmares made real, and meet the most beautiful people.

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