close search results icon

An open letter
to the African child
Posted on January 9, 2013
by Mama Afrika

Dear African child,

On the one hand, I know
you down to the most
intimate of details.
You see, I have a few of you
whom I’ve carried in
my own womb. I’ve fed you,
cared for you when you were sick,
worried when you were
worried, cheered you on
from the sidelines,
comforted you, held you in
my arms, taught you about
God and loved you with my
whole heart.

An open letter to the African child
Posted on January 9, 2013 by Mama Afrika

Dear African child,

On the one hand, I know you down to the most intimate of details. You see, I have a few of you whom I’ve carried in my own womb. I’ve fed you, cared for you when you were sick, worried when you were worried, cheered you on from the sidelines, comforted you, held you in my arms, taught you about God and loved you with my whole heart. I’ve helped you with your homework, helped you plan for your future and dreamed the biggest dreams for you. I’ve taught you to work hard, pray hard and play hard.

On the other hand, I know I haven’t done enough. I’ve tried you know? But I’ve also failed more than I’ve succeeded. To you, the child I never held, I’m sorry. My arms are open wide; but I can’t seem to reach you from where I stand. To you, son, who I haven’t given the opportunity to dream because you were too sad or lonely while your other parents abandoned you; I am so remorseful. I want to be your “real” mother, after all mothering is an action, not a definition of bloodlines. I want to show you that your future is full of possibilities and hope.

To you my daughter, whom I never talked to… you know that talk I’ve wanted to have where I tell you how much you mean to me and to the world, that talk where you learn that you can be anything, say anything and do anything regardless of what those lying men in your culture tell you. My dearest daughter, you are indeed worth everything to your Creator and to me. I have always wanted to sit down with a cup of Red Bush tea and tell you how much the world needs your special skills, talents and abilities, that we are depending on your beautiful hands to build a new nation and a new world full of love and compassion… that only your hands and others like them can do it. I want you to know that anyone who tells you that you should be held back, that you are worthless, that you are only put here to please men, that you are worth less than your male counterparts… well, the truth is, they are lying out of fear of what you might become: empowered to fulfill your destiny.

Every one of you, my dear children are valuable to me and to all of us. You are the ones who can do better with our resources. You are the ones who can show your elders what they were capable of doing. You are precious to me and I will find you, one by one, and show you.

I might not get to hug you or kiss you or look you in the eyes. But please know, that you are mine and you are treasured. Know that I think of you, I pray for you and I love you deeply.

Know too, that I will work today and tomorrow to ensure that you know you mean as much to me as do those who I carried for 9 months and raised with my own hands.

(your) Mama Afrika

All photo were taken, by Antonia Skaraki, on her iPhone 12 Pro



In Mozambique, improved access to family planning and antenatal care, especially in rural areas, is helping save women’s lives and that of their children. Maternal mortality has dropped to 408 per 100,000 live births and infant mortality to 124 per 1,000 live births.

Many women and children continue to be vulnerable. Only 48 per cent of births are attended by a skilled health worker and 70 per cent of pregnant women are anaemic, a condition associated with low birth-weight babies.

Women make up 58 per cent of Mozambicans living with HIV and AIDS and a tiny fraction of HIVpositive pregnant women are receiving antiretroviral drugs to reduce the risk of passing the virus to their babies.

Every day, 320 children under five are lost to preventable and treatable diseases, such as malaria, respiratory infections and diarrhoea.
AIDS-related illnesses are quickly catching up.

Diarrhoea is a major cause of child mortality and a result of the population’s poor access to safe and clean water and adequate sanitation. Malnutrition is a major underlying cause of child mortality. Around 41 per cent of children are chronically malnourished. Two-thirds of children aged 6–59 months are vitamin A deficient, a condition that makes them more susceptible to infectious diseases.

No 2020.01, OCTOBER 2020


More than two in three children are multidimensionally poor in Madagascar. 23.7% of children are in a situation of extreme poverty (4+ dimensions of wellbeing). The south-west of the country is the most seriously affected.

There are pockets of severe deprivation hiding in non-poor households. For example, children who are relinquished or double orphans are particularly likely to suffer more deprivation than other children in the same household. In particular, these children are twice as likely to experience sexual violence as the average. Children with disabilities also tend to experience more deprivations than other household members, especially as regards nutrition, education and immunizations.

Boys tend to have much more deprivation than girls when it comes to education. This could be explained in part by the fact that boys are more likely to work than girls. Boys are also more likely to experience violent discipline.

Education of parents, especially that of mothers, is strongly associated with reduced deprivation in children.

Eleni,Niko,Aleko, I'm grateful.




Carlota Domingos sits on a four-legged wooden stool in front of a one-room mud house, which clings to the side of a dry, rocky hill separating Mozambique from the landlocked kingdom of Swaziland. She married at 15 and became pregnant before she turned 16. Now, back at her family home, Domingos has dropped out of school because her husband, who was 17 when they were married, abandoned her.

“Now I’m almost nine months pregnant. I can barely walk let alone go to work or attend classes in school. I depend on my family. They have accepted me back into the family,” she said.

At the town’s primary school teachers have become accustomed to seeing their most promising female pupils drop out each term due to early unplanned pregnancies or because they get married.

“Every term, at least five students drop out because of this. The girls are getting married or falling pregnant because they are trying to escape from difficult conditions at home. When they have no food or clothes to wear it is easy for men to tell them lies and abuse them,” said Ranita David Murasse, director of the primary school.

The school has 253 pupils and less than half are female. In the lower grades, there are more girls than boys; from sixth grade, there are more boys than girls.

“We have fewer girls than boys because of pregnancies and marriage. Parents can’t afford to buy their children books or sandals, and men take advantage of this sad economic situation. For almost all the girls who get pregnant, the men [who impregnate them] are older,” Murasse added.

Teachers at the local school feel they are fighting a losing battle. “We live in a border town where men with money pass through. They offer our girls who come from poor families gifts and money. These men carry diseases and health problems. Our situation is critical,” Cristina Sevene, a teacher at the primary school, said, her voice filled with anger.


Thirty minutes’ drive from the town towards the capital Maputo, and a stone’s throw from the highway connecting Mozambique and Swaziland, lies a small village of no more than four huts. The two families that live in the village grind out their existence from the nearby windswept fields.

They keep a couple of goats and a handful of chickens to supplement the little they eke out from the fields. The families said they could barely put food on the table, let alone send their children to school. This is a scene repeated across rural Mozambique.

The young girls and the poverty-stricken families are at the mercy of men with cash.

Attending to a young boy on the side of the family field is 24-year-old Rebecca Salomao. She dropped out of school when she was 15, after she ran off with her boyfriend.

Less than two years ago, after she had had her son, she found out that she had contracted HIV through her former boyfriend.

Luckily for her, the viral disease was diagnosed after a local charity conducted a blood test on her.

“My mother abandoned me when I was a year old. She couldn’t look after me; my grandmother raised me,” said Salomao.

“We had nothing. My former boyfriend, who was HIV-positive, did not tell me about his HIV status. That is how I got infected with it.

He has now left me and my son,” she said.

“My dream,” said Domingos “before getting married and pregnant, was to become a teacher. That is still my dream. And when I deliver, I hope to go back to school.”