Chimoio, population 80,000, is the capital of Manica Province in the central region of Mozambique, close to the border with Zimbabwe. The province depends heavily on farming fruit and vegetables, so people's livelihoods are very sensitive to changes in the price of food.
The area is also prone to flooding and this regularly affects thousands of people. When floods wipe out homes and farms, access to food and clean drinking water become severely limited. This consistent threat can make life in and around Chimoio very difficult.
Familes struggle to have a stable income
Life is already very difficult for subsistence farmers and they often struggle to offer a stable income for their family. However, this struggle has only been worsened by the influx of foreign investors buying up land in Mozambique.
Around 21% of Mozambique's agricultural land is now under foreign ownership, as companies hope to benefit from potential rises in food prices around the world. They often promise investment and jobs, but the reality is usually continued poverty and even more insecure livelihoods.
The HIV/AIDS challenge
Manica is one of the worst affected regions when it comes to HIV/AIDS, with some estimates putting the infection rate as high as 25% of the population. In the worst cases this can leave children without parents and being fostered by distant family members who mistreat or exploit them.
Even when parents are still alive, children often have to act as their sole carers. Education is the key to improved life chances as well as in combating HIV/AIDS, but these young people often struggle to go to school due to their commitment to their parents.
Migrant children far from home
A recent occurrence is the growing number of migrants from Zimbabwe who come to Mozambique seeking employment opportunities. Many of these migrants are children who, since they are illegal, often have limited access to public services that would help protect them from exploitation and give them a strong start in life.
SOS Children's work in Chimoio
We began working in Chimoio in 2011, with the donation of a plot of land by the government and substantial monetary contribution by the novelist Henning Mankell. Even though this Village is relatively new it provides a range of important services to children and the wider community.
Keeping families together
A strong and supportive family is the best place for children to grow up, so we are committed to ensuring that, wherever possible, parents can continue caring for their children. This often means providing them with assistance in areas where they might struggle, such as by helping to pay for medication and educational costs.
It also requires strong social support mechanisms. With this in mind we work with the local community and community organisations to ensure that as many children as possible can remain with their biological parents.
When it is not possible for children to stay with their parents, we step in to provide them with a loving and nurturing home at our Children's Village. They are able to live with one of 10 SOS families and are cared for by their qualified and affectionate SOS Mothers.
These children all attend local primary and secondary schools, ensuring that they have strong roots in the local community. This community focused approach ensures that the effects of our work will last for generations to come.
When a child in Chimoio has lost their parents, we offer them a new loving home in our Children's Village. You can sponsor one of these children, and provide them with all they need for a healthy and happy childhood.