Zero hunger in Angola. Together it will be possible.
Joaquim was born in a small village in Benguela province in the interior of Angola and grew up in the economic capital of Benguela. He arrived in Lisbon in 2016 to study a PhD in Economics as it was his dream to study in Portugal. He felt that he needed to come to Portugal to receive a good education and he also wanted to experience how other people live outside of Angola. “There are schools, but the real learning, the real and powerful education system is not there. I don’t think that the professors there give their soul to their professions. I think they teach ‘cause they are gaining money, because it’s just their work. Something is to teach because you love what you are doing, because you want your pupils to really learn, another thing is teach because it is your work, to gain money. Few teachers teach with their soul.”
Even when it is a dream, living in a new country always comes with its challenges. For Joaquim, some of these were the weather and differences in cultural customs and lifestyle. “Angolans are very happy, even if we get many problems, we are very happy. It is that, that I am missing. The noise of people in the street, in their house. People make noise in Angola, for good or for bad, people make noise…People are dancing, singing, even when they are in a problem. They see the dance as a way to de-stress. They are thinking positive. Any situation, they are making a party.”
“That’s why I thought to create this organisation. Even being here in Portugal, I can help my friends, my brothers that are in Angola.”
Experiencing differences between two countries was part of the prompt to form the organisation Fome Zero Angola. “I was comparing how Portuguese people live and how Angolan people live. There are things here in Portugal that in Angola we don’t have access. When I was there, I was helping people in the streets as I can, but now I am so far from them, and I don’t know how to help them. That’s why I thought to create this organisation. Even being here in Portugal, I can help my friends, my brothers that are in Angola.” Forming the organisation was a way to remain connected to his culture and to improve their situation, even from afar. “Most people think about the problems, we need to think about solutions.”
The Fome Zero Angola team was created in May 2020 during the Covid pandemic, where Whatsapp, Instagram and Facebook were the organisations office. But even with these limitations of not being able to meet in person, the team worked together towards the goals of the organisation. They continue to work from their office bedrooms, in Portugal and Angola.
“’Til today in Angola, there are too many children that live in the street. This is very bad for us, it aches my heart. That’s why I’m here in Portugal, working hard for the one day we try to grow our place to put all our children there. To educate them, to support their health, support their education, to support them in all dimensions of their life. If we neglect our children today, we won’t get a future.”
"Most people think about the problems, we need to think about the solutions."
Access to food, health services, education and employment in Angola are all things that are part of the organisations larger vision. “Our governors have governed us very badly for 27 years.” At this moment, donations to FomeZeroAngola go primarily to buy food for those in need. “I don’t feel good when I’m eating something good and I know that there is someone who doesn’t have that to eat in a day, in a week. I know how my people suffer, that’s why I’m doing my part.”
“We want an Angola without children living in the street, with the families to live with the minimum to eat. Our future depends on the way we treat our children. Our desire is to have a country without hunger. Zero hunger is our dream. Hunger for us means the absence of food, the absence of education, the absence of health, the absence of love to each other.”