Ana Maria Efremo is a 13-year-old student from Camilulu, Nkhame locality in Mozambique. She enjoys going to school, making new friends, and learning new skills.
After the passing of her mother, she was confronted to the hardships of life at a young age and had to learn to live alone and make a living on her own. “Even though the most difficult day of my life was when I received the sad news about my mother’s disappearance, I felt lucky when I was chosen to be a part of the crochet classes, which then became an opportunity to have a source of income”.
“My school has always had good classrooms that are equipped with desks, where three students used to seat before the pandemic outbreak. However, the school did not offer professional training to the students in the past, as it did not have sewing machines, needles, or any guidance to teach new skills to the students.
Since then, her school has improved a lot, with the help of the RETRAIA project to reduce child labour in the region. Ana Maria has already started with income production activities and now has scholastic material to be able to attend classes.
She is happy with everything that is happening at her school. “Before I didn't have school material, I didn't expect to learn to do something that could support my studies. Thanks to the project, I am now taking a training in practical activities to make an income through crochet. This motivates me to regularly attend school”.
“I have made many friends; they are the ones who comfort me when I think of my parents who are not here with me, and who didn’t leave me with a sibling to share with them the suffering I go through for being an only child”.
Ana Maria would like to attend other more advanced classes, get a training to get a job, so she can help other children who are living in the same situation as her.
Challenges to overcome
“The biggest challenge I face nowadays, like many other children my age and in my community, is the lack of school uniforms, and the lack of conditions to pay tuition fees to continue our secondary school education”.
These challenges make it even harder for children to continue with their studies. “I think it is very difficult for an orphan to continue studying. If our school had secondary education (8th to 10th grade), it would facilitate a lot of children’s lives who live in conditions as an orphan and vulnerability. If possible, the project should help these children with scholarships until they graduate”.
Hope for the future
When asked about her future, Ana Maria says: “I would like to be a teacher. For that purpose, I want to continue studying to successfully complete the next levels of education, and to graduate to have a stable life”.