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Education is a top priority for the local communities. One of our first projects was the building of a new primary school In Supinho. In Idugo, where school attendance levels are very low, we joined a nationwide network promoting girl’s education and raising awareness of children’s rights. With the support of Irish Aid in Mozamique, our work aimed at promoting children’s education has been developed and branched out to include both local communities. The success of our work with primary school children has prompted us to expand our focus to include secondary school education and the Foundation is currently sponsoring the secondary schooling of eight young girls. We have also supported literacy classes for adults, primarily women.

Adult literacy

A high proportion of both men and women in the local communities do not have basic literacy skills. The Mozambican government provides literacy teachers and text books, but is not able to pay the teacher subsidy. The Zalala Foundation has entered into an agreement whereby we pay a monthly subsidy and additional materials. Approximately 30 adults are currently attending basic literacy classes which are held daily in the Foundation community centre in Supinho. Classes are open to both men and women, but only one man has been attending. This is a reflection of male pride – men do not want others to know they are illiterate. Far from feeling ashamed, the women are proud to have learnt all the letters of the alphabet and are able to sign their names and read road signs, doctor’s prescriptions and many other things that have made a big difference in their lives.

Once they learn the absolute basics, the women will move on to the second level. When they complete the second level, they can reach secondary level and go on to get school accreditation. The classes are currently only held in Supinho. However, once the community centre currently under construction in Idugo is completed, literacy will commence there too.