Carmindo de Vilankulos has been the Headmaster of EP1 Machangue School for 17 years, but his involvement at the school dates back to before the war ended in 1994. Only after the civil war ended was the government officially able to recognise the school. Although the school is still small, it plays a vital role for the children it serves and the greater community at large.
For Carmindo, the school’s continued partnership with JAM Mozambique has helped the school and community tremendously over the years. JAM’s assistance has helped keep attendance and morale high among children, staff and parents.
Due to the training provided by JAM, children and members of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) are empowered and well-informed about ways to look after animals, plant trees and get more yields from their gardens and fields. For example, the PTA produced a profit of 1,500 metric tons from its field last year, which they were able to use to purchase four pigs.
Another encouraging factor for Carmindo is that the numbers of girls has consistently outnumbered the boys’ enrolment figures for the past three years. In the past it was common for girls not to receive any form of education at all. PTA member Mariana Kutisso is one of those unfortunate individuals who were deprived of any education.
Mariana’s story is bittersweet. She is a community leader and dedicated member of the school’s PTA, not because she has grandchildren or family, but rather because she realises the value of education, as she was never allowed to attend school. Mariana’s children died many years ago during the turbulence of the civil war.
During the colonial era, it was not common for children to go to school, let alone for girls to do so. Later on, during the independence and civil wars, the need for hiding and survival took precedence over education.
Mariana’s dedication towards helping the school by preparing food and working with parents to ensure that children come to school is indicative of the community’s involvement and their support of JAM’s work.