HIV/AIDS is the major health issue in Beira and Sofala province. The Bristol Link with Beira has highlighted some of the statistics and issues on its new exhibition panels which are available for use in schools, libraries and community centres as well as at events across the city.
The BLB has also supported and funded work with Aids orphans in the Munghava district of Beira over several years. Children are taught literacy skills and basic English but also basket making and sewing using a machine. These are income generation skills which the children use and are often seen selling baskets and handkerchiefs after school
This year we are working with Coaching for Hope and other agencies to run a Football and HIV/AIDS prevention project where we will train 30 local coaches, youth workers and primary teachers.
BLB trustee and HIV in Africa consultant Jose Sluijs-Doyle says: “Beira is the capital of Sofala Province, in central Mozambique. Sofala Province has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in Mozambique. At 23% (15-49 year olds) infection rates are 7% higher than the national average. Gender disparity, particularly in the 20-24 year old age group, is significant. In 2005, 22% of women aged 20-24 were HIV positive (7% of men). This demonstrates the disproportionate vulnerability to HIV for women.
“Additionally, there is the significant burden of care that mostly falls on women and young girls. This in turn will limit their chances to get education and other opportunities in life. The target group for the ‘coaching for hope’ programme is therefore to be girls and boys aged 10-20 in order to start prevention and life-skills education at an early age but continue to emphasize the message throughout secondary education.”
Supporting Bristol’s World Cup bid
The BLB Football and Hiv/Aids project in Beira is part of Bristol’s bid to host world cup football in 2018. Here the Mozambican High Commissioner his excellency senor Antonio Gumende supports Bristol’s bid during the national conference on Southern Africa hosted by Bristol at the Mansion House.
Bristol’s 2018 bid team and trustees and supporters from the BLB help pack donated football kits for a container to be shipped to Beira. The kits will be donated to children and young people taking part in the Football and Hiv/Aids project.
BCFC chairman Steve Lansdown and his son Jon donate kit to Michael Richardson from Coaching for Hope, one of the BLB partners in the project and Senelisiwe Ntshangase, Skillshare International’s programme director for Mozambique and Swaziland. Coaching for Hope is a programme of Skillshare Int.