Isabel Fernandes left Portugal to embark on a journey in one of the poorest countries in the world – Mozambique. The project she coordinated, “Tutor at a distance”, gained her the European Volunteer of the Year award.
Psychology graduate Isabel Fernandes did not let money or her position get in the way of travelling and making a difference. As many people her age in Portugal, she was unemployed; but rather than letting the world stand idly by, she embarked on a journey to help children undergoing bleaker circumstances.
Fernandes took up an offer to spend a year in the province of Gaza, southern Mozambique, and coordinated one of Portuguese NGO Ataca’s main project, consisting in helping combat poverty amongst children between the ages of 2 and 18. Her successful coordination of the project gained her the European Volunteer of the Year award by the Active Citizens of Europe, according to daily newspaper Público.
Mozamique has exceptionally low living standards, is still paved with post-conflict recovery and has been in continual struggle for development in modern history.
Though Isabel is now back home, she has not given up on her mission and is still working at Kutsemba, an NGO of voluntary workers. Kutsemba has 25 participants in Portugal and helps provide Mozambique with learning materials, interactive games and clothing.
Unfortunately her project has not yet received enough support, probably down to the pessimistic climate in the crisis-ridden country. But as Fernandes told Público, “If everyone gave a little, maybe a euro a day, the price of a coffee, it would make every difference.”