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Mozambique's praying mamas   
Uploaded by Fundraising Team Last updated on 15/09/2016

Women in Mozambique face many problems, especially with violence against women, children and elder people. Women have reported that in some places, families in extreme poverty have put children up ‘for sale’ in order to survive. Also, when elderly people are no longer able to help their families with work, they are falsely accused of sorcery and subsequently abandoned.

However, the Church in Mozambique has been working hard on the issue of abuse of women, children and elderly people. Leading the way is a team of women known as the ‘praying mamas’.

The ‘praying mamas’ are so called because, they say, “we pray and act”. They do home visits, and if is there someone with special needs, the ‘praying mamas’ will clean their houses, go to the supermarket for them, or accompany them to hospital.. This special care is a full-time thing, especially with elderly and sick people. The ‘praying mamas’ also stay with bereaved families – not just during funerals, but until the families are ready to continue their life journey.

The ‘praying mamas’ dress very strikingly in black and red/magenta, with white hats. When I asked them about their clothes, they said: “Our skirts, socks and shoes are all black because we were in darkness. Our blouses (red for Wesleyans and magenta for United Methodists), represent the blood of Jesus Christ was shed. And our white hats represent the Holy Spirit.”

I met the ‘praying mamas’ in July last year, when I had the opportunity to work with Methodist women in Mozambique, running a course on the theme Women in the Bible and Early Methodism: Perspectives and Challenges. The course was held in Maputo (Mozambique’s capital), with 36 leaders representing 23,000 Mozambican women. It was developed by the Otília Chaves Centre at the Methodist School of Theology in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with special support from the Methodist Church in Britain.

The Revd Dr Margarida Ribeiro, Professor at Methodist School of Theology in Sao Paulo, Brazil