The work of Meninos is clearly making a difference in Maputo. There has been a reduction in the number of permanent street children they work with – down to under 200 from over 300 in 2013. But the discovery of offshore oil and gas reserves in 2012 has changed life on the streets of Maputo. Chinese investment has led to a surge of foreign construction workers in the capital, leading more children from vulnerable families at the outskirts of Maputo to become ‘weekend’ street children, travelling in to engage in transactional sex as a means of making money to support their families.
Faquir told us that Meninos is adapting its work to this changing landscape. They no longer just focus on supporting children off the streets, but are actively trying to reduce the numbers turning to street-life in the first place. They are now going out into the communities and addressing the source of the problem. Meninos is working with families to enroll children in vocational training and increase their access to micro-credit, helping them to establish businesses.
This sustainable approach has been recognised by the Director of Social Services in Maputo, Angelina Lubrino, who also regards Meninos as a model for the interaction between government and local grassroots organisations. She praised Egmont for enabling Meninos, as the partner with full knowledge of the issues facing street children, to drive the response ‘as they know best.’
This story appeared in the Winter 2014 Newsletter.