Raimundo was only 13 years old when he suffered from severe headaches and pimples in rural Chemba, Central Mozambique. His father, 65-year-old Mariano Jofrisse, took him to traditional healers because his family didn’t have access to proper healthcare to deal with the situation. While the pimples eventually healed, Raimundo was no longer able to see; he had turned blind.
Despite the challenges, Raimundo decided as he grew older that he was not going to just fold his arms and wait for miracles to happen. He had a family to feed and giving up from providing for them was never an option.
Today, he sits in the morning sunshine smiling down on him as he warms up his hands. With an improvised awl and synthetic rope in his hands, a straw basket is taking shape. Farming and selling baskets have been the income sources for his family.
Life was good for Raimundo and his family, until last year when the deadly Cyclone Idai destroyed all of his assets; leaving him and his family on the verge of hunger.
“I became bitter because I was no longer able to provide food for my family,” Raimundo confesses, remembering the days following the devastation. “My father used to help me with food, but it was not enough for my family”.
With entire communities and villages losing their assets to the cyclone's effects, selling baskets was no longer able to pay off as well. Raimundo witnessed this income source dropping down, because “People were much worried about food.” he explains.
Hope arrived for Raimundo and his family when they started receiving 40 kilograms of corn, 20 kilograms of beans, three litres of cooking oil, eggs, and a kilogram of salt every month from World Vision in partnership with the WFP, as part of their emergency response to cyclone Idai survivors.
“This project helped us a lot with food and other urgent needs. We learned to eat something different from what we used to,” Raimundo says.
To be able to continue supporting themselves, project beneficiaries were encouraged to build hygiene and sanitation infrastructures, such as hand-washing systems (known as “Tippy-taps”), latrines, dish racks and garbage landfills to improve hygiene conditions.
Aimed at helping people like Raimundo to recover from their losses, the project has provided seeds and training on advanced agricultural techniques.
“I hope that with these seeds and the training I had received I will production and productivity improves and provide more food for my family’s diet,” Raimundo remarks.
Although living conditions had improved for Raimundo and his family, he waits for his next cropping seasons. Raimundo is however concerned with the spread of COVID-19 so soon after the shocks he suffered last year. In a possible scenario of a total lockdown, Raimundo says that it would be a disaster “because we will find ourselves in a situation where we will starve to death because I will not be able to sell the baskets for a living. “After suffering from Cyclone Idai shocks, there is now this COVID-19 disease outbreak. Life has dramatically changed, as the Government has decided that children should study from home and I don’t have proper school materials to help my children in this process,” he adds.
Raimundo is among around 7,500 survivors of Cyclone Idai who have been benefiting from the “Chemba Resilience Building and Nutritional Enhancement Project” who are now forced to adapt themselves to the limitations imposed by COVID-19.
Learn more about and/or support World Vision’s global work to limit the spread of COVID-19 and support the children impacted by it on our COVID-19 Emergency Response Page.