"BRAVO!" in Mozambique: more than 300 children in Long Distance Adoption have been registered in 2008
A letter from Mozambique from the agent of the program of long distance adoptions of the Community, informs us on the results achieved to assure the birth registration of the children adopted..
The Center "the Rainbow Country" of the Community of Sant'Egidio in Matola C, in Mozambique, near the capital Maputo, where I work for the program of long distance adoptions, is a center for assistance to children that besides the nutritional support cares for everything regarding their health and their life, and therefore also of their recording in the "Registo do Nascimiento", i.e. the General Registry Office. An initiative that was started because of the need of assuring the children legal identity for their protection, since if a child is not officially recorded at the "Conservatoria dos Registos" he does not exist: has no rights, not even that of attending school.
We began our work for birth registration in 2005 with the children that attend the Center "the Rainbow Country", the DREAM Centers of Machava and Matola 2. On that first year we registered about 100 children in the public registry. This work was done in collaboration with the Conselho Municipal da Cidade da Matola (Matola town council), that, after a meeting with the Mayor, awakened on the matter the "Conservatoria dos Registos" of Matola, where the General Registers of the population are held.
It was the beginning of a work that continues still today: in 2008 we registered over 300 children: about one quarter of the total of 1,100 children that attend the center. In Mozambique it is estimated that about 60% of the children were not registered at the time of their birth. Registering a child's birth is free within the first 30 days from the event. When the 30 days period has expired, 50 meticais (about 1.5 euro) are due, and one must show the “Cartão de saude” (health paper) issued on the time of delivery; if one does not have these documents it is necessary to bring two witnesses that are registered at the "Conservatoria dos Registos".
A lot of difficulties are due, besides the cost of the procedure, also to the traditions of the country. Often before giving a name to their child, the parents should consult their parents and in some families also a "curandeiro" (traditional doctor) to know the desire of their ancestors. This way the 30 days period in which it is possible to register free of charge the children is exceeded.
The mozambican government wants to introduce the offices of the "Registo De nascimento" in all of the outpatient clinics for maternity of the country to allow the birth registration of all children. It has been useful however that already during the time of the pregnancy the future mommy was informed about the importance or personal birth registration for their child that is coming to life, as already happens in our DREAM centers. Many parents in fact do not yet know the importance of this act also because the information campaigns, in a country like Mozambique, do not always arrive to touch all of the citizens, particularly in rural districts and in the the country.
Cacilda M. - Maputo, 01/08/2009