We began to finalize the second house (dorm) in September 2009, thanks to a large donation through the globalgiving site thanks to Andrea Vieria in Washington DC as welll as many other donors to the Globalgiving site, to the Friends of the Lurdes Mutola Foundation (www.youngmindsofafrica.org), a 501(c)3 Foundation that operates in California. In February of 2010, the house was completed and a total of 40 girls occupied the house, from the 8th and 10th grade classes. The finalization of the second house, was a long process, but has allowed for all of the now three year’s participants to be on one location. The architectural plans were changed for the house to allow for four living spaces where ten girls would share a large room. The 60 girls all share the cooking and cleaning chores within the two houses on rotating schedules.
Unfortunately, the education system in Mozambique cannot adapt to the increasing demand for education in the country. This is especially felt in peri-urban and rural areas such as Magude. Some classes, like Portuguese, still do not have teachers at the school teaching them, because teachers are in short supply in Mozambique. To confront this challenge, the MEpM program has provided tutors for the girls to continue their schooling outside of the classroom.
In agreement with parents, the Foundation has established tighter controls, advice and guidance towards ensuring better social behavior by the girls, as the risks of adolescent pregnancy is pervasive in Mozambique, and two of the program’s past participants have become mothers. Two out of 60 girls is prettyu good infact, the norm in Mozambique sees more than 30% of girls becoming mothers by the time they are 17, the average age of our scholarship participants. In addition FLM has provided three lectures and activities for guidance in sexual reproductive health and HIV. For these activities, FLM counted on the support of two NGOs in equipment and training of assistants, Caritas Diosesana and N'weti.
FLM has strengthened it approach to keep parents involved in their children’s education, which is by no means a small task. Coming from distant locations, without their own means of transport, the meetings held with parents every two month on the progress of their daughters allows the girls to keep strong relationships with their parents through the Foundation’s program.
One major change for this year is that the 10th grade class will need to choose what technical training course they will want to take upon completion, if they so choose. They are not obligated to continue onto the 11th and 12th grade, with a 10th grade education, they can participate in two year training course to become health workers, teachers or other types of civil servants. It seems like more than half of the 16 girls from the inaugural MEpM class will want enroll in a teacher course.
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