Tragedy struck early for Anatercia. Her father passed away when she was just four and her mother has struggled with chronic health issues ever since.
Anatercia, her brother, and her sick mother moved in with their elderly grandparents into a small hut in southern Mozambique, where there is no electricity, hospital, secondary school or supermarket.
As her grandparents aged, Anatercia's grandfather developed blindness and her grandmother could no longer walk to their farm; their only source of income.
Their crops withered from a mixture of neglect, irregular rainfall, droughts and floods. They were unable to maintain their livelihood and the family often went hungry.
In Mozambique, nearly two million people currently face severe food insecurity, due to the combined effects of frequent natural disasters, the conflict in northern Mozambique and COVID-19.
As Anatercia took on more and more responsibilities around the home to try to support her struggling grandparents, her education began to suffer, as she travelled up to five hours to collect water every day.
“We have run out of food several times. I help my family with the farm, cooking, fetching water and firewood, and caring for my mother. I also assist my grandfather in feeding, as he has difficulty in picking up utensils due to blindness.”
Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, Anatercia and her family were able to join the Integrated Rural Development Program, supported by Caritas Australia’s partner, Caritas Regional Chokwe, which provided them with food, seeds, school supplies and a school uniform for Anatercia.
They also helped the family to install an irrigation system on their farm, as well as a system of taps in the village so community members so no longer needed to walk hours to collect water. Anatercia's grandmother learnt about sustainable farming techniques to help the family produce enough food to eat and sell.
Caritas Regional Chokwe also successfully lobbied the government to extend the school to 6th grade, so that children like Anatercia can continue to study close to home, rather than walking hours to a neighbouring school.
Finally, with Caritas’ support, her community was able to form health committees to raise awareness about COVID-19, HIV and AIDS, as well as providing psychosocial support for vulnerable people, including Anatercia.
Now, Anatercia can easily access clean drinking water, community members are able to grow healthy crops all year round, and there is enough nutritious food to eat. Anatercia feels better supported by her community, has more time to study and do her homework, and hopes to fulfil her dream of becoming a nurse.
"I have enough time to take care of my mother because I have water close to the house, I am studying here in the community, and the farm gives us food all year round," Anatercia says. "Thank you, Caritas Australia."