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Christ said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor” (Luke 4:16). Today, Our Lord calls his Church to continue spreading that good news, in word and deed, to the ends of the earth and to those who live on the margins of society.
One of those places is Mozambique, a country in southeast Africa. Listed as No. 180 (out of 188 countries), Mozambique ranks near the bottom of the Human Development Index. It is truly one of the poorest places in the world. The poorest Mozambican families live hand to mouth in inhumane conditions, and many children are forced to grow up without parents or a stable home. But with your support, Cross Catholic Outreach can empower local Catholics to meet the urgent needs of the most vulnerable children and families and transform their lives.
Though rich in natural resources and geographically situated for international trade, Mozambique has struggled to rise above the lingering effects of a horrible civil war that ended in 1992, plus an especially brutal AIDS outbreak that decimated families and plunged the country into deeper poverty. Before that, Mozambique suffered economic stagnation as a Portuguese colony and did not gain independence until 1975. Today, nearly half of all children are hungry, and many are deprived of the education and parental care they need to develop into thriving, self-sufficient adults.
Read on to learn more about our plan to reduce material and spiritual poverty in Mozambique and how you can help!
Population: 30,098,197 (July 2020 est.)
GDP per capita (PPP): $1,300 (2017 est.)
Literacy rate: 60.7% (95.5% in U.S.)
Infant mortality: 64.7 deaths / 1,000 live births
Population below poverty line: 46.1% (2015 est.) (15.1% in U.S.)
Primary religions: Roman Catholic 27.2%, Muslim 18.9%, Zionist Christian 15.6%
The poorest Mozambican families live in makeshift shacks like this girl’s fragile shelter that was patched together from bits of tin sheets.
In recent years, Mozambicans already struggling with a lack of resources and opportunities have had to weather devastating new challenges.
First came three years of drought and crop failures; then came two cyclones that killed many people and destroyed tens of thousands of homes, resulting in a crisis that included displaced children vulnerable to hunger and exploitation. A year after the cyclones, the COVID-19 pandemic brought a new strain to bear on the country’s inadequate health care system and forced families to confront the dilemma of balancing prevention with the need to work and eat.
Now imagine the impact of these events on the country’s most vulnerable, ranging from elderly men and women who have no family to care for them to orphaned children who are forced to raise their siblings on their own.
Local Catholic ministries fighting poverty do not have the funds to meet the vast need. When you give to Cross Catholic Outreach, your support equips our local partners to bring relief, hope and empowerment to the poor.
Catholic ministries in Mozambique can come alongside at-risk children and families to meet their basic needs.
Cross Catholic Outreach partners with local Catholic ministries that have the heart and the knowledge to serve the poor and vulnerable. We focus on fostering long-term relationships, listening to local perspectives and strengthening our partners’ programs rather than imposing our own. Through these partnerships, children and families who are in the greatest need receive material support and spiritual edification. Our major focus in Mozambique is children who have lost one or both parents and are in conditions of extreme vulnerability. We strive to give those children the oversight and resources they need to flourish and grow into capable adults.
Our goal is to provide urgent relief and, when possible, to empower the poor to rise out of poverty and transform their communities. This work is done in the spirit of Christ, revealing his presence in a hurting world and exemplifying the Church’s preferential option for the poor. Your support can change lives!
Cross Catholic Outreach’s primary Mozambican partner is Association Cross Mozambique, a ministry founded by a group of local Catholic women who dedicated their lives to rescuing children after the country’s AIDS crisis and civil war created a generation of orphans. ACM is based in Maputo, a city on Mozambique’s southeastern coast.
To help orphans and destitute children, ACM takes a holistic approach. The ministry meets each child’s physical needs through food, education, preventive health care and other critical support, and it also addresses their spiritual needs. Bible study, prayer and an emphasis on connecting with their church communities are essential to the children’s success.
ACM identifies at-risk children and sends volunteers to do weekly home visits to ensure their needs are being met. Support from Cross Catholic Outreach enables ACM to bless hundreds of orphans with nutritious meals and to provide them with scholarships, school uniforms, books and supplies so they don’t fall behind in their studies. The children also receive tutoring, spiritual enrichment and access to preventive healthcare.
With so many orphans and vulnerable children to help, there is another at-risk population that is often forgotten — the elderly. Cross Catholic Outreach has teamed up with ACM to be Christ’s hands and feet to poor Mozambican seniors who have no one to look after them. Together, we are providing food and basic medicine and preventive healthcare, which is overseen by a traveling nurse who makes periodic home visits.
Orphans are often taken in by neighbors or extended family members who live in flimsy makeshift dwellings that are too cramped to comfortable add another child. Cross Catholic Outreach is working with ACM to bless these families with sturdy new concrete homes and sanitary latrines.
In partnership with Cross Catholic Outreach, ACM is giving at-risk girls an alternative to drugs, prostitution and poverty. The girls are placed in boarding homes, enrolled in school, and given nutritious meals, mentoring and spiritual formation. Education is the key to a brighter future!
Struggling families and poor woman-headed households are empowered for greater self-sustainability through livelihood support. Some families receive microloans to be used for activities such as growing vegetables or sewing clothes for sale. Others receive seeds and hens that will be a long-term source of supplemental income.
Impoverished Mozambican children and families need your compassion. Your gift to Cross Catholic Outreach will strengthen the efforts of local Catholic ministries to free the poor from the clutches of spiritual and material poverty.
Giving monthly is a small way to have a big impact. Your regular support empowers our ministry to respond to urgent needs and fulfill our long-term projects across the world.
How many people are in poverty in Mozambique?
Out of a population of 30,098,197 people, about 46% live below Mozambique’s poverty line. This indicates that nearly 14 million people in Mozambique are in poverty. However, this number is a conservative estimate, because the country’s poverty line is set so low. The reality is that more than half the population lives on less than $2 a day, and more than 8 in 10 lives on less than $3.20 a day. By U.S. standards, nearly the entire population could be considered poor.
Why is Mozambique underdeveloped?
Many factors contribute to poverty in Mozambique. After a long period of colonial exploitation, the country was torn apart by internal conflict and the AIDS pandemic. War, disease, natural disasters, a floundering agriculture sector and a lack of education all play a role in making Mozambique one of the world’s poorest nations.
What is education like in Mozambique?
Mozambique offers compulsory, tax-funded education through age 12. However, an inadequate school system, combined with the fact that many families cannot afford matriculation fees, has resulted in many students dropping out. But even as schooling becomes more widely available, the low quality of education in Mozambique continues to be a detriment. Generations of education deficiencies have resulted in a national literacy rate of just 60.7%.
Is there a water crisis in Mozambique?
As Mozambique’s water sources have broken down over time, infrastructure development has not kept up with the need. Many families depend on hand-dug wells and other sources that are easily contaminated and often run dry. In addition, about 66% of the population lacks access to improved sanitation facilities.
Proceeds from this campaign will be used to cover any expenditures incurred through June 30, 2023, the close of our ministry’s fiscal year. In the event that more funds are raised than needed to fully fund the project, the excess funds, if any, will be used to meet the most urgent needs of the ministry.