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Rebuilding lives one step at a time in Mozambique

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It’s a corner of the world we don’t hear all that much about, but in Cabo Delgado in northern Mozambique, a five-year-long conflict has forced more than 780,000 people – almost half of them children – from their homes, killed thousands, and sparked a humanitarian crisis.1

Most of the people displaced by the insurgency are now staying with family and friends, many of whom are themselves already very poor; others are living in camps where food and other essential supplies are stretched, and poor sanitation threatens the health of those seeking refuge.

One of them is Rotafina*, a widowed mother living in a camp in Pemba, Cabo Delgado’s provincial capital, with her three children. Conflict and its impacts have dogged every aspect of their lives since violence broke out in their home town in northern Mozambique. They are completely reliant on food aid, and with no school to attend, Rotafina’s children are facing ongoing disruption to their education.

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“Ever since I arrived here with my children I have not known peace,” Rotafina said. “During the night I fear someone can break in, and in the day hunger stalks us.”

The reasons for the conflict are complex. The insurgents have had some international support, but the conflict has indigenous origins. It appears to have been fuelled, as many of these conflicts are, by poverty and neglect. For a while in 2021, when troops from Rwanda and various southern African countries arrived in the region, there was hope that the violence could be quashed. However, the insurgents have regrouped, bringing with them horrific violence and causing the humanitarian situation in Cabo Delgado to deteriorate once again.

In this fraught situation, Tearfund’s local partners in Mozambique are responding with relentless love – the love we read of in 1 Corinthians 13:7 that 'never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance'.

Tearfund’s partners are doing all that they can to respond to the urgent needs of families like Rotafina’s. They’ve supported hundreds of internally displaced families with food, shelter and hygiene supplies, and with seeds and tools so that they can practise agriculture. Young people have been trained in sewing and dressmaking, and provided with sewing machines and other materials, giving them the foundation to start generating an income. Our partners are also providing psychological support and pastoral care to thousands of people.

Providing for people’s immediate needs promotes safety and better health in the difficult environment of the refugee camp, but more than this, it gives people who have been through so much the chance to process their trauma together, support each other and begin to grow hope for the future.

* Name changed

1. "Military intervention hasn’t stopped Mozambique’s jihadist conflict", The New Humanitarian, https://www.thenewhumanitarian...

Prayers change world 2

Pray with us

  • Pray for all those who have been displaced by the conflict in Mozambique, and lost loved ones in the violence. As people go through the long process of trying to heal and rebuild, pray that they will find sources of hope and strength.
  • The relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions in the second half of last year enabled our local partners in Mozambique to carry out their work a bit more freely. Give thanks for all that they are doing, in very tough conditions, and pray that they will be able to continue to identify those people most in need of support, and tailor their humanitarian responses according to what is most needed.
  • God’s relentless love shines light into even the most challenging of circumstances. Give thanks for this love and for the people and organisations that are God’s hands and feet in the world’s “hard places”.
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Relentless Love

Conflict dominates the headlines. We can change the channel, swipe the app closed, look away. But for millions around the world, conflict is inescapable. It cuts the future short, crushes livelihoods, tears families apart. It deepens the impacts of poverty and injustice.

Yet in places of entrenched conflict, hope is resiliently pushing up through hard ground. This hope is anchored in God’s love, expressed by Tearfund’s local partners. Love that never gives up. Love that is full of hope. Love that endures. Relentless love.

You can help make peace possible for people living in conflict. Love relentlessly.

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Emma Halgren is Content Lead at Tearfund Australia.