COI Bishops Appeal and VSO in Mozambique
The Church of Ireland Bishop's Appeal have supported a VSO project in Mozambique to help reduce the numbers of marginalised women engaging in sex-work by providing training in alternative forms of employment.
VSO faith-based partner Kubatsirana (meaning” mutual help”) has been working with young female sex workers in Central Mozambique. The region is a major transport hub and the young women who are uneducated and have few employment opportunities often turn to sex work with the truck drivers who pass through the region. Thanks to support from the Bishops’ Appeal, VSO and Kubatsirana began implementing an HIV prevention project in 2013 with young women in the region. Working through churches, local associations and Mozambican youth volunteers, a total of 238 people are involved in this project. Funds from Bishops’ Appeal have enabled young women to learn skills which will help them to earn an alternative income and are helping young people to be peer educators and leaders on HIV prevention issues.
- 28 young women have completed training on sewing and hair dressing. These are skills that are expected to help them gain alternative ways of earning a living, instead of engaging in commercial sex work. Kubatsirana has provided them with start-up materials and basic equipment (electric and manual sewing machines, thread, fabric, scissors, brushes, etc.), helped them open a shared bank account and will continue supporting them to manage the income.
- Young people have been trained in basic theatre skills, and gave a drama performance for the community in September 2013, disseminating messages on domestic violence, sexual abuse of young girls, and HIV & AIDS prevention. Further performances are planned at youth clubs and local churches.
- 10 young people were taught basic IT skills, and are now able to search for information on the web about HIV and AIDS, and are sharing this information with peers in the community. This is the first opportunity the girls have had to access a computer and internet. Their new found skills are also helping them with their school work.
- Funds from Bishops’ Appeal enabled a soccer team to be created, involving 28 girls. These girls play in the local tournament with 5 other female clubs. Participating in sports increases the confidence of these young girls and builds leadership skills among themselves. They also share information on HIV and AIDS before, during breaks and at the end of each game
VSO Ireland are really appreciative of the support of the Church of Ireland Bishops' Appeal and thank all parishioners who donated throughout the year to the apppeal.