Tete is home to around 156,000 people and is on the Zambezi river. Just like Mozambique's economy, the population of this city and the surrounding province is growing fast - 56% between 1997 and 2007.
This growth is the result of high numbers of internal migrants who come seeking employment in the provinces coal mining industry. By 2025 this area is expected to provide 25% of the world's coal, and it has already lifted employment rates throughout Tete.
Coal mining now employs 85% of the workforce in the region, which is an improvement when compared to previously high levels of unemployment. However, there are also serious concerns. The operation is causing massive damage to the environment and has forced many families and communities to resettle. The result is dangerous pollution and disrupted lives for children throughout the region.
Just as importantly, the gains from mining have been highly unequal. Whilst it is fuelling the growth of Mozambique's economy, local people have not seen their quality of life improve substantially. Even now, only 5% of the local population has electricity in their homes and even fewer have modern amenities like a television or car.
Added to the unequal distribution of mining wealth, are wider problems with the level of education among the population more generally. Over 70% of women and over 40% of men are illiterate, and, as women traditionally raise children, this can have major impact on the future opportunities that their children will have.
Not only are mothers unable to support their children's learning and guide their involvement in economic, social and political affairs, but they also cannot complete other basic tasks. 70% of births continue to go unregistered and this make it hard for children to access public services , like education. It is no surprise that almost half of children between 5 and 17 do not attend school.
What is SOS Children doing in Tete?
We began working in Tete in 1987, and since then we have continued to focus on working with the local community to ensure that all children get the right start in life.
Providing families for children with no one
15 SOS families in our Children's Village Tete provide a home for up to 165 children who could not remain with their parents. In these families, children are able to grow up with their brothers and sisters and are cared for by their loving SOS Mother.
All children from SOS families attend the local SOS nursery and SOS primary and secondary school. Here, they are able to get an education whilst also making friends with other children from the area. The primary and secondary schools are now run by the Ministry of Education.
As children from SOS families grow older and leave home, they are able to join the SOS youth programme. Here, they undertake further education or training, are given accommodation and are supported by qualified counsellors as they make the difficult transition into adulthood.
Equipping families to provide the best care
Helping parents give their children the best care possible is just as important as supporting those who have lost this care altogether. Therefore, we run an essential family strengthening programme to help keep families together.
The programme ensures that children's basic needs are taken care of and that they have access to basic educational, nutritional and health services. We support parents by helping them to learn income generating skills, providing them with counselling and offering practical services, like a nursery where they can leave their children whilst at work.
See our community work
In this video, two SOS community workers explain what they are doing to combat Tete's alcohol problem, which is having a serious impact on the city's children. At the end of the video, some local children discuss what it is like growing up in Tete.
Young children in Tete are growing up in a loving home with an SOS family. Will you help them to get all they need to have a happy and healthy childhood by sponsoring a child today?