When the last days of the year arrive, moments of reflection come along. The natural tendency is to think about all that we could not get done in Mozambique in yet another year of global pandemic, all the projects that were left half-way, or the ones that never left the drawing board. 2021 was yet again a long year, longer than others before, as our HQ team was away from the field the entire year, for the first time in 18 years. However, we have many reasons to celebrate.
We have started the year with ambitious targets. We launched a campaign to significantly increase the number of sponsored children and reach year end close to the 1000 targetted. We devoted our time to re-opening the schools and supporting the children that were deprived of in-person learning for so long. With much joy we saw the majority of the children return to Primary and Secondary education, after-school support, the HIV Day centre. University scholarship students visited their university for the first time. Despite all restrictions, we were able to re-launch our school feeding program and our HIV centre day-to-day activities. We launched a new vegetable farm with our young students, as well as a bike repair business. We initiated a new partnership with the charity Girl Move to support the girls who were found to be more vulnerable in times of isolation driven by the pandemic.
Was it all as we planned? Not always. It was with sadness, that despite all our efforts, we were unable to open our pre-schools because of the national rules of pandemic prevention. It was with much difficulty that we progressed infra-structure projects and school improvements, either due to post-Covid changes, damages post difficult climate conditions, the impact of inflation or lack of construction materials everywhere in the country. However, we know that together with our partners and technicians in Mozambique, we have done our best for the children, in the belief in our vision to break the cycle of poverty.
Our work was tireless, however only possible thanks to you, who are there and support A Little Gesture. Each donation, each support, each word of encouragement have made it possible for us to go further in Mozambique. Each of you contributed in your own way and the generosity of our donours continues to be strong, despite the uncertain pandemic environment we live in. We finish the year with the news of a new grant approved by Instituto Camões, which will allow us to launch a school feeding program for 1500 children in the School of S. Vicente de Paulo. This is a project dreamt for long and now planned to become the second largest individual project for A Little Gesture. Showing that dreams are what we make of them.
Looking back, A Little Gesture made great strides towards its mission. I am hugely proud and grateful of this team in the UK, Portugal and Mozambique, and I wish that with you all, we can become yet strong in 2022!
Sara Vicente Barreto, Chairman of ALG