Mozambique is a country located in south-east Africa bordered by
the Indian Ocean to the east, with Tanzania to its north, Malawi
and Zambia to its north-west, Zimbabwe to its west and both the
Kingdom of Swaziland and South Africa to its south-west.
independence from Portugal in 1975, after centuries of colonial
rule, Mozambique plunged into a long civil war within two years
that was to last until 1992 and claimed the lives of some 900,000
of its population, displaced around five million and left many
more injured and amputees through the deployment of landmines.
The end of the war was augured by the collapse of
the Soviet Union, a force that Mozambique's political class was closely aligned
with, alongside the virtual disintegration of Mozambique's economy. In 1990 the
ruling Fremilo party accepted a new democratic constitution and held free
elections in 1992, which it won, and has done so in all further elections.
Today the country is considered stable and is attracting foreign
investment, however with 80% living in rural areas, most lack clean water,
access to education and health resources. Around 1.5 million of the country's population of some 23
million is infected with AIDS/HIV. With levels rising rapidly it is soon
expected that over 16% of the population will be infected with the resulting
further drain on poor household resources as family members need to decrease
their limited economic activity to provide care for those afflicted.
There are over 1.4 million orphans in Mozambique, a third of
them due to HIV/AIDS. Thousands of these children, an estimated 5000, live on
the streets, however the exact number cannot be quantified. Many of these
children, like so many from the general population, have no birth certificates,
so cannot even prove their are from Mozambique, and of course, apart from those
reached by charitable organisations, have no access to education, health care,
nor a viable future. The country has also been badly affected by the floods of
2000-2001 which destroyed much of the remaining poor infrastructure and then, in
the following year, the country was hit by a severe drought which destroyed
crops and left many starving.