Falling for girls education in Mozambique


Kurandza’s founders Elisabetta and Percina are committed to giving childhood in this African country a chance to pursue their dreams. With an upcoming social media campaign to be launched on September 1st, they are inviting people around the world to do the same.

By Natalia Bonilla

Elisabetta Colabianchi’s assignment with the Peace Corps in Guijá inspired her to continue working with the community long after her time there was up.

After three years living and working as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mozambique, she teamed up with her friend Percina Miocha to start Kurandza, a non-profit social enterprise born in 2017 to help invest in the future of women and girls.

“I developed strong ties to the community and I wanted to continue the work that I had already started”, Colabianchi said in an interview.

Kurandza means “to love” in Changana and the proof of this potential bet is the social impact it has generated on the ground in more than two years.

Through their education and partnership programs, they have enrolled over 200 girls in schools, taught over 32 health workshops, provided backpacks and school supplies to 205 students and enrolled 5 boys in school.

“Partnering with other established schools in the country seemed like a no-brainer for us. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel with the work we’re doing– instead we want to help supplement and add upon what is already established. We have 5 partner schools and we’re excited to continue supporting them and the work they’re doing!”, the co-founder said.

Mozambique’s female literacy rate is estimated at 28 percent, according to USAID statistics. 

Although most girls enroll in primary school, about 11 percent of themcontinue to study in secondary schools, the Borgen Project reports.

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Kurandza gives special attention to HIV-positive women. In 2016, they launched the #FeedMozambique campaign to held “nutrition and HIV prevention trainings for HIV+ mothers who were continuing to nurse their babies past the recommended timeframe because of a lack of food to feed them”, according to their website.

For Colabianchi and Miocha, the attention to this community is, alongside with girls education, placed at the heart of the non-profit.

“While I was in the Peace Corps, I worked at a local hospital, counseling HIV+ mothers on the prevention of transmission to their babies. I noticed that many of the women didn’t have a source of income to pay for the transportation costs to reach the hospital every month. Because of this need, Percina and I thought of ways to spur entrepreneurship among these women!”, Colabianchi explained.

In order to provide long lasting support, the team started a sewing cooperative and with the official launch of the social enterprise, small business incentives to empower local women.

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With the #IStandforGirls annual campaign, Kurandza has nurtured an online community across the world supporting the provision of scholarships to over 100 girls each year to join their holistic education program where regular classes are not only given but also self-esteem, health and leadership skills are taught.

This September 1st, the non-profit is set to launch a new movement to assure long-term aid.

“Our goal is to create a sustained and holistic education for the 200 girls that are already in our program. Instead of adding more girls, we want to nurture these ones and ensure that they are fully supported through high school graduation and beyond”, Colabianchi said.

To join the worldwide call for action, you can join the launch team here or make a one-time donation here. 

Photos credit: Kurandza.org

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