|Inauguration of New Center in Mozambique|
The Khandlelo Center, a local partner of AVSI in Xipamanine , Maputo, Mozambique, was honored by the visit of His Excellency ARMANDO EMILIO GUEBUZA, President of Mozambique on April 6, 2011.
The story began at the end of the 1990s when some youth of the Xipamanine area, one of the poor and most underserved neighborhoods of Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, were struck by the living conditions of some families. These young people started to share gratuitously of their free time during the week to take care of the children while their mothers were out at work to win the bread for their families.
After some time these youth recognized the need to structure their activities to better respond to the growing requests and to their desire to be involved with the people of the area with regards to the education and care of their children. They set up a charitable organization which they called Khandlelo, meaning “the candle light”, which was later recognized by the Ministry of Social Affairs. Over the years, Khandlelo has grown to manage or support almost a dozen educational and social centers in the neighborhood.
It was in the same period that Khandlelo’s leadership and in particular its visionary president, Domingos Chissano, met people from AVSI and CESAL, a Spanish organization which is also member of the AVSI network. From this encounter, a collaborative initiative was set in motion, structured by AVSI’s Distance Support Program of child sponsorship.
From the first 120 children, today 1,400 children are taken care of by the social workers and educators of Khandlelo with an individualized accompaniment and follow-up aimed at reaching out and involving the families and the community at large in the upbringing and education of their children.
Khandlelo offered homework help, after-school activities (recreational, cultural, nutritional, handicraft, and sport) and other forms of support for the youth and their families. The need for appropriate and stable spaces for Khandlelo’s community engagement and activities became evident over time. With the commitment of CESAL and Khandlelo, the dream of the community became true and the “Maria Grazia Rizzo” Social –Educational Center was inaugurated on March 17, 2011.
The large and beautiful center can host 400 children and has ample space for meetings and vocational training sessions for the youth and the adults, in particular the mothers.
The center is really a candle light as its name implies: a light house which casts glimmers of hope for the inhabitants of the neighborhood and reaching out across Maputo.