Gilbert Sun News Staff

The public can get an insight of the daily struggles of families living in Mozambique and help do something about it at an upcoming fundraiser in Gilbert.

In Mozambique, one quarter of the adults have HIV, 75 percent are unemployed, one in seven children die before the age of 5 and the expected life span is 48 years old.

Care for Life is hosting the “Growing Up in Mozambique” event on Sept. 29. The informative event also features international and local entertainment such as The Kawambe-Omowale African Drum & Dance Theater, and magician and illusionist Eric Giliam.

Attendees will get a close encounter with the work Care for Life does with Cindy Packard, a licensed midwife with a private practice in Gilbert and co-founder of the nonprofit with her husband, Blair Packard.

The Packards first visited Mozambique in 2000 after learning of the devastation that struck the African country.

The couple saw that many of the humanitarian efforts established in Mozambique were only addressing the secondary issues such as hunger, disease and infant mortality rates.

They decided to form Care for Life to get to the root of these problems by teaching and fostering self-reliance to the families in the Mozambique villages.

The nonprofit focuses on villages located outside of Beira, the second largest city in Mozambique – population 530,604. Each village typically has between 200 and 250 inhabitants, and many do not have running water and electricity.

The organization has volunteers working to reach thousands with the Family Preservation Program, which aims to help families grow and remain self-sustaining through education.

The nonprofit educates villagers how to be self-sufficient in eight key areas – health and hygiene, education, psychosocial well-being, sanitation, food security and nutrition, income generation, home improvement and community participation.

Throughout Care for Life’s years of operation, it served over 3,100 families.

Maternal deaths have been reduced by 78 percent and infant deaths cut by 58 percent in villages where Care for Life has gone in, according to an independent, five-year research study presented this year.

Yet this is only a drop in the bucket compared with the vast need, according to the group.

If you go:
What: “Growing Up in Mozambique” fundraising event
When: 6 p.m., Sept. 29
Where: Barnone, next top Joe’s Farm Grill,  3000 E. Ray Road, Gilbert.
RSVP: growingupinmozambique.splashthat.com
To help: Donations to Care for Life can be made at CareForLife.org.