Gilda Mandlaze is a 22-year-old girl who is paraplegic. She lives in Chokwé, a rural town and capital of Chokwé District in the province of Gaza, Mozambique. She stopped going to school when she was on the 9th grade at Chokwe Secondary School because she had no money to buy school material or pay for transport. She lives far away from her parents and needs to take care of her younger cousin whose parents have gone to South Africa. To support herself and her cousin, Gilda always tried to do small tasks like wash clothes and prepare peanut butter, but she could not gain enough money as she is physically challenged.
Year 2017 brought good news to Gilda. A new project, Hlayisa, was launched. The project is implemented in 19 districts in Maputo, Inhambane and Gaza provinces, including Gilda’s home town Chokwe.The main objective of Hlayisa is to enhance and improve HIV treatment, nutrition, general health outcomes, and livelihoods of people living with HIV – children, women and families. One of the activities is the establishment of and facilitated access to economic strengthening opportunities to ensure sustainable livelihood for vulnerable adolescent girls and young women.
One morning Gilda went to chat with her neighbor Lucia. There she heard to her surprise that a girls’ club had started a few weeks ago in the community and had identified the local school as a safe space for meetings. The club’s activities included a savings group. As Gilda listened on, she reflected on her needs to get money to buy food, clothes and to be able to go back to school. Read more