Saturday, February 1, 2014

Real people, real projects- Antonio Charomar, Foundation for Education and Health in Mozambique

I prefer to do "real-life" charity, when I know the people behind the stories and their ideas. I believe in these cases more than in the case of big NGOs, who are not afraid to use their money to hold big conferences in fancy hotels, or rent expensive offices in fancy districts. Accountability and transparency are the most important issues in case of charity in my opinion, plus a good cause and the faith that it will be fulfilled. Nothing is perfect in our world, and people who want to do good are often marked as dreamers, but I am rather on the dreamer`s side than on those who do not believe in anything. 

I heard about this project through my Mum who was at a presentation about Mozambique made by Antonio in the local library in my hometown in Hungary, since then we have been in contact, and I decided to contribute to his project. I asked him to write couple of lines about himself and the project he started what you can see below.

My motivation to support a project like this is that I believe in the power of education and that it can transform people`s lives, especially the lives of those who would not get a chance to have proper education because of their unfortunate social background. When I was in Sao Paulo in 2007, we visited a favela called Paraísopolis which really changed my way of thinking about the world. I saw how unequal the chances for education are for children in lower social classes, and the real life contrast. Couple of meters divided two so different worlds from each other. Where the swimming pool of the private school ended, behind the fence the favela (slum) was starting, where some people do not even have electricity or running water, and children live sometimes in extremely bad conditions. I decided in Sao Paulo that when I will be working and having money, I will support projects which aim to improve equal chances for education.

It is 2014 now, and in a way I live the life I planned, because I can act according to my principles which matters a lot to me. In the next section you can read the text written by Antonio Charomar the founder and chairman of the Foundation for education and Health in Mozambique.

Briefly about myself

I was born in Mozambique in 1963. My father was a clerk at a sugar cane company in Marromeu, a provincial town where I was born and lived with my parents until 1977. My mother was an illiterate, but very clever woman. In 1978 I attended the secondary school of Inhaminga, another provincial town, from where I was transferred to Barada to continue my secondary school education. Shortly after beginning my studies at Barada I was selected to continue my studies as a scholarship student in Cuba. I arrived in Cuba in March of 1979. I finished secondary school in Cuba in 1986. Then I went back to Mozambique where I worked as a primary school headmaster for a few months before I got another scholarship to Hungary. I arrived in Hungary in 1987. After studying at the International Preparatory Institute in Budapest where I learnt the Hungarian language and the necessary subjects for my university studies, I became a university student at Janus Pannonius University in 1989 and obtained my master’s degree in economics and business in 1994. In the same year I started working as a teacher at Nádasdy Tamás Secondary Technical School in Csepreg. After five years of teaching in that small town I moved to Győr in pursuit of better employment opportunities in 1999. Since then I have been living and working here. So far I have taught in state and private schools alike. In 2007 I started teaching at the University of West Hungary as a freelance teacher. Upon a request by the Head of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature in 2010 I became a full-time teacher at the same university.

The project I am involved in, of which you are one of the sponsors, is the field of my mission work. I am both the founder and the chairman. It all began after my second visit to my country in 2004 when I noticed the extreme poverty most people were living in after the peace accord signed in Rome in 1992 that marked the end of the 16-year civil war. At the time the situation was particularly sad with the children and youths whose lives were in jeopardy. Then I started thinking what I could do to help change this situation. Soon I discovered that I was nothing compared to the existing problems because I did not have any resources that could make a difference. My family members were also affected directly by the civil war and I started aiding them with some money I made from my teaching. Part of the money was to cover their daily expenses while the rest was used to pay for tuition fees. I needn’t tell you that I did not earn much, but still I tried to do something with the little I had. I kept doing that for many years until in 2004 I decided to establish a foundation for education and health to support not only my family members, but also every child and youth in need. In 2005 I also registered the foundation in Hungary. Thank God since then the number of supporters has been increasing annually. I think, by providing the children and the youths with education one is giving them the best of life. 

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