December 09, 2016, 5:21 PM
Neema from Missao De Misericódia Abrangente Em Moçambique (MIMAMO), a URI Southern Africa Cooperation Circle, is coordinating the construction of a Cultural Kitchen in the village near her home in Lichinga, Mozambique. The Cultural Kitchen will be a small building on the beach road, which is frequented by tourists. Neema hopes that by positioning the Cultural Kitchen at such a busy intersection, the more than 50, women from the village will be able to display and sell their work and crafts which primarily include pots, baskets and doormats.
Women in Lichinga, Mozambique drawing water from the bush for the construction of the Cultural Kitchen in their village.
The Cultural Kitchen will also be a site of gathering where women will receive vocational training and education. This means that women will have the opportunity to become empowered financial, receive education that will enable them to take on greater leadership in their communities, and enabled them to continue to the develop the Cultural Kitchen to suit their needs and projects.
Education for women is something that is relatively uncommon in the area where Neema works and lives. She believes that lack of access to education is a primary factor in the high birthrates among young women in the village. Neema anticipates that the Cultural Kitchen, and the education, business and leadership opportunity it will provide to village women will reduce the number of births in the community, and will provide young women with an outlet to build community and personal and professional skills.
Villagers in Lichinga, Mozambique listening to a performance by village girls singing about the need for a local school for girls.
Aside from this incredible project, MIMAMO is also working to build a local two-room hospital to provide medical suppport particularly for the young women who require neonatal care.
At the moment, building for both the Cultural Kitchen and the hospital are slow because Southern Africa is in the midst of a dry season, which makes it increasingly difficult for village women to retrieve the water they require for construction. After the rains, in April, MIMAMO hopes to be in the midst of construction, after which they will have a better sense of the progress of both of these projects.
I appreciate so much the work that Neema, her husband Shadreck and friends of MIMAMO are doing. The Cultural Kitchen is a strong example for how women everywhere can help empower and provide opportunities for learning and community for one another. Women are uniquely positioned to be leaders of our collective future, we just need to supply them with the tools, knowledge and support so that they may carve the path forward for us all!
This work is crucial for creating cultures of “peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings,” as stated in the URI Preamble. I thank and bow deeply to the work of MIMAMO.