Classes Change Africa

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In many countries, children have to pay to go to school. In one of the poorest countries in the world—Mozambique, Africa—a place called Tinga Tinga is offering a free education—and new hope—to students of all ages. Kim Riemland reports.  

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(Locator: Bungane, Mozambique)

At this school, students are never too young—or too old—to learn.

Helena Asta Zaocossa, 19-year-old Student (via translator): “Education is important because it helps people to know how the world is and how to manage the world.”

The world of those living in Bungane, Mozambique grew larger when the local United Methodist church, known as Tinga Tinga, became a center of change in the community.

Zefanias Chihulume, United Methodist Church of Mozambique: “We try to see what does this community need? Do they need a school? And if they need a school the most, then we will build a school in that location.”

The closest elementary school used to be an hour’s walk away. Now, hundreds of children can study close to home, and see dreams—like becoming a doctor—start to come true.

Luis Francisco Mawaia, 16-year-old Student: “I have an uncle who is a doctor. It is important for my future.”

It’s a profession desperately needed in a country where there’s only one doctor for every 140,000 people.

Teenage girls live on the campus…

Albertina Amelia Tamba, Director, Tinga Tinga Center:  “Most of them in the location where they live, they don’t have secondary school and other schools.”

…and learn sewing and other vocational skills.

Helena Asta Zaocossa, 19-year-old Student: “It will help me to find a job.”

Tinga Tinga also offers literacy classes for adults. Only about four out of 10 Mozambiquans can read and write.

Maria Matsimba, 42-year-old Literacy Student: “You can find jobs and you can do other things without help of other people. So I need to learn how to read and write.”

Zefanias Chihulume, United Methodist Church of Mozambique: “Education is the best investment. You’re giving them a opportunity to change themselves, to change their own lives.”


Through partnerships, American United Methodists in Virginia support schools and medical care projects in Mozambique. Methodist leaders in Mozambique were also instrumental in brokering a peace agreement that ended 15 years of civil war in that country.

Read more about the partnership between churches in Virginia and Mozambique.