“I remember when the floods came. I was happy because I had just passed grade three and I had a new school bag. Suddenly, we had to move to a new house and I stopped going to school because there was water everywhere,” says 10 year old Doloris, who witnessed firsthand the devastating floods which hit her community in Mozambique in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai in 2019.
Idai, the strongest storm on record to hit southern Africa, swept away homes, roads and bridges in Mozambique, killing more than 650 people and affecting more than 1.8 million. At Doloris’ school the damage was severe and completely halted all school activities. All 3,000 students were forced to stay at home until the water had subsided.
To help get children like Doloris get back into school as quickly as possible, Plan International started working with authorities and communities to rebuild schools that were wrecked by the cyclones and floods. We initially provided tarpaulins to create temporary classrooms and then started work on rebuilding the formal classrooms following the Build Back Better approach, guidelines created by UN Habitat which aim to ensure that buildings are disaster resilient. Now, the school is now fully functional and has welcomed all its students back to class.
“Now that I am at school again, I feel happy and relieved, because there is no water and I can see my friends. When I have a question, I ask my teacher for the answer so I can learn quickly and be like my mother in a few years,” says Doloris, adding. “I don’t know what I would do without school.”