After a long and exhausting trip, we finally arrived in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. The first impression of the country was shocking for all of us, and the feeling was kind of mixed. There were barefoot children on the street and destroyed buildings next to great palaces. Every nice place that was not destroyed had at least one guard outside the gate. There are street sellers everywhere who are selling fruit, nuts, sunglasses, shoes and so on.
After a night of rest, the programme started this morning with a meeting at the UNICEF country office. We got information about the country. Before that, we didn’t know what to expect or have any facts about the situation for children in the country. We would like to share some information with you that we have learned today from the UNICEF representative, Dr. Koen Vanormelingen:
• More than a half of the population are under 18 in Mozambique
• 6.3 % of the children can’t read or write in third grade
• One out of ten children won’t reach their fifth birthday
They might sound like bad numbers, but if you compare it to last year the numbers are getting better every day. Actually, this is one of the most developing countries in the world right now.
After we got something to eat and could talk about all the impressions that we got during the meeting, we went to Radio Mozambique. They have radio programmes broadcast by children to children, but not only for children. They talk about issues in the country, informing the listeners about the daily life and problems, like nutrition, how to talk to their parents, child marriage, HIV and children’s rights.
When meeting all the children, we all got a very strong impression. Everyone was very motivated and confident about themselves. Their team works very hard and takes care of the whole process. Some were producers and some were reporters. They took us to the studio where they do their daily broadcasts, and they interviewed Hanna, one of the Swedish participants. It was great to see how professional the kids were. The interviewer, Mike—who was only 17 years old—was amazing! Hanna got the opportunity to answer some questions about European kids and also she could leave a message for all the Mozambique children.
Helga, Klára, Marek, Martina, Thérése and Hanna