For a preschooler, her grandmother’s participation opened a door to education

For a preschooler, her grandmother’s participation opened a door to education

Esperança Miguel Vilanculos is an eager 3-year old girl who attends preschool in Mozambique. She now lives with her maternal grandmother Rita as her parents are away, earning a living selling charcoal about 63 miles from the city of Vilankulo in the Chiruala community. Rita explained that she took Esperança as her dependent, because it is customary to do so in their community, and, it allows Esperança to help her grandmother with household chores.

Rita participated in the first community meeting on establishing a preschool in Mozambique, and she helped with classroom construction efforts. After seeing all the neighborhood children attend preschool every day, and realizing the importance of early childhood education, she decided to enroll Esperança.

When Esperança initially entered the preschool, she had limited communication skill, did not know the alphabet or numbers, and, was not friends with any other neighborhood children. She was also unregistered, meaning that she did not have the birth registration certificate required to have access to district-level support and social protection services.

Today, Esperança walks with a smile on her face, socializes with other children and is a group leader. Her grandmother helped her take part in the project-supported birth registration activities last semester and she now eligible to obtain a government ID card. She has picked up a knack for storytelling, can organize numbers and the alphabet, and loves to jump and slide in the playground.

Ever the supportive guardian, Rita oversees Esperança’s rigorous good hygiene at home, pleased as the girl bathes, brushes her teeth and washes her hands on her own.  Her teacher also attests to Esperança’s growth and development, noting the young girl’s progress and eagerness to learn. As for Esperança, she says that she likes preschool because she learns to sing and read there, and she also gets to play with other children.    

Child education in Mozambique