JRS Mozambique opens the doors of the first early childhood education centre

27 February 2024

Early childhood education center in Mozambique under construction (Jesuit Refugee Service)

JRS Mozambique will soon launch an early childhood education programme in the country, serving displaced children living in their community. “Our team is securing the bamboo walls, assembling desks, and installing a tank full of clean water,” said Helder Macingarela, the Acting Project Director for JRS Mozambique. 

In response to the escalating violence in the country in 2022, JRS Mozambique conducted a needs assessment to understand how they could most effectively serve the community. It became evident that there was a need to provide temporary learning spaces and resources for children to attend school.

In situations of displacement, children are especially vulnerable. Unfortunately, they often experience and witness multiple human rights infractions including killings, family separation, kidnapping, child recruitment, gender-based violence, loss of education, and insufficient access to basic services and basic sanitation facilities.  

We were effectively starting from scratch. There are no schools or clinics here for people to use
Helder Macingarela, Acting Project Director for JRS Mozambique. 

To address these challenges, JRS Mozambique is opening an early childhood education centre and a multi-purpose community centre. “We were effectively starting from scratch,” Helder said. “There are no schools or clinics here for people to use.” JRS Mozambique has already recruited teachers for the new education centre and, this week, they will register their students.  

Another integral and practical piece of establishing these two centres in Maningane was ensuring that the learners and community would have regular access to clean water.  

“The Maningane host community and the community of those who are internally displaced (IDPs) are happy when they realise that JRS is there to help,” Helder said. “They see that we are here to stay, that we listen to them and respond to their concerns.” 

These projects were implemented with the support of the JRS/USA Greatest Needs Fund. 

Since 2017, intense fighting has forced over a million Mozambicans to flee their homes. The presence of non-state armed groups, extreme weather events, socioeconomic disparities, and cultural tension have all contributed to the growing humanitarian crisis and mass internal displacement.  

JRS has been present in Mozambique since 2021. In the northern area of the country, it provides educational services, mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS), and awareness-raising sessions on hygiene and sanitation practices. The team also held regular meetings with IDPs and host community leaders to check in about how they were coping with the challenges and stressors of displacement as well as where JRS could accompany them in that process. 

JRS Mozambique is committed not only to accompanying displaced people and the host community but also to ensuring that individuals are provided with the necessary tools to become leaders and pave a path for their own community’s future. 

*this news was originally published by JRS USA.