Imagine you are 56 years old and need to care for fifteen grandchildren. You have fifteen lives that are depending on you to have their best interest at heart and have the ability to provide for them. For anyone this would be a monumental task let alone for someone in the developing world. Sofia Zacarias Chemane is doing just that in Mozambique. Sofia is a widowed grandmother. She lives in Maciene in a house with fifteen children.
Sofia and her family live on what they can grow themselves. This means they live off vegetables, peanuts, corn and cassava. These crops provide barely enough calories, and they do not provide the nutrition necessary to live a healthy life. In order to prevent this much needed food from going to waste. Sofia grinds corn on a daily basis to prevent it from spoiling. It is a tedious, back breaking process for food that will not even provide adequate nutritional value. Imagine that you are in her situation; the only food you have for your 15 grandchildren is insufficient to give them a healthy life. Yet Sofia does what she can with great resolve in unbelievable circumstances.
But there is HOPE… The picture may seem bleak, but Esperanca’s partner NGUNI is making significant inroads in the community where Sofia lives. Since 90% of the population subsists off of the land it is an important place to impact change. The program has already been a success by targeting not just women like Sofia, but entire families. Community educators are focusing on young children at the primary and secondary schools by providing them with improved access to food and nutrition. This includes information on improved agricultural methods and introducing additional foods to the community’s diet. Eggs and beans are providing valuable proteins. Cashew nuts are adding important fats, ensuring the body has the tools to absorb essential vitamins. The education also covers proper preservation techniques for these new foods. Sofia and others will no longer have to grind corn by hand. Instead they will be able to utilize a mill, reducing the time and effort previously required to ensure their crops do not go to waste.
Esperança’s food security program is having a significant effect on the lives of Sofia and others just like her. We are making an impact at all levels of the community by providing education to the entire family; thereby ensuring individuals have the tools to improve their lives.