My siblings and I go to
school, both my
brothers and sisters.
We’re not rich by any means,
but mum and dad work hard
so we can go to school and
have a good life. They do it
because they love us. Mum
and dad grow maize, sweet
potato and cassava. Both of
them work in the fields, and on
the weekends my siblings and
I help out.
“Boys my age who don’t go to school almost always start poaching in the park, and they are often encouraged by their own parents. It’s crazy, because they can get shot or end up in prison. There are many here in the village who are poachers, and I think it’s mainly because they haven’t had enough schooling. They don’t understand how important it is to protect animals and the natural environment. That everything in nature is priceless and connected as part of a natural cycle. They don’t understand that these animals are endangered; that one day there won’t be any rhinos anymore, and then they won’t be able to earn any more money.”
Girls married off
It’s the weekend, and Luis is helping his little sister Rijay with her homework.
“Not all girls get to go to school here, but in my family, both the girls and the boys go to school. My favourite subject is Portuguese, and when I’m older I want to be a teacher,” says Rijay, 10.
“It’s hardest for girls to stay on at school, because many girls my age are married off. It’s wrong that someone who is just a child themselves has to be a parent and know how to look after a child. All children should go to school,” says Luis.
“Playing football with my friends is the best!” says Luis.
Mozambique is affected
Luis says the boys who quit school and start poaching are making Mozambique poorer in three ways:
1. If you don’t go to school and learn important things, it will be
hard to be part of helping to develop Mozambique.
2. If elephants, rhinos, impalas and other amazing animals die out, Mozambique will lose both its natural and cultural wealth. The country will be poorer and everyone will lose out.
3. If poaching continues, the country and the villages will lose money and jobs that are created when tourists want to come and experience the wild animals. Villagers can start working at hotels and restaurants, and as guides and rangers, but if there are no wild animals, then no tourists will come and there will be no jobs left.
“On the weekends, my siblings and I help mum and dad in the fields,” says Luis.