Esmenia Raimundo is 20 year old and lives in Namirica, a village in the Monapo District in Mozambique. When she was 15, she became pregnant and had to leave school. Now, 20 years old, she is a mother of two and lives with her parents.

Before enrolling in the OYE programme, she struggled to support her children’s due to the absence of and zero contribution from her children's fathers. Esmenia planted crops on a small plot of land to feed her family and sold home-made dumplings to earn money. In the beginnine of 2017, Esmenia joined the OYE programme after an invitation from her brother. OYE allowed her to improve her income and start dreaming about the future again.

In the OYE programme, Esmenia succesively received training on life, business and technical skills. In the life skills training, she learnt to keep track of her expenses and savings. Her business training allows her to calculate profits, make business projections and create an investment plan. Using the technical training, Esmenia was able to increase her harvests and transform the plot that she used to grow food on for her family into a commercial agri-business. Soon, Esmenia and her group will receive an advanced business training course to improve their business development skills and enable them to apply for banks loans and youth business funds.

Esmenia and other young mothers also followed family planning sessions during the OYE programme. They received information on contraception methods and family planning, including on safe and nutririous foods for their families.

Esmenia with one of her harvested lettuces

“I've just sold my first lettuce harvest after completing the technical training and soon I will be able to harvest my very first tomatoes." Esmenia tells us with a smile. She has made a €85 profit by selling the harvest. She also makes €12 per week by selling dumplings and hopes to further increase her profits by selling her tomatoes at the right time. "I want to sell them in early December when demand is high due to the holiday season”

With her success, Esmenia now says she wants to inspire other young people and show them that it is never too late to change their lives; she was able to regardless of the fact that she had to drop out of school at a young age and now she is more successful than her former class mates.

With OYE, Esmenia's dreams are becoming a reality. With the money she makes, she can afford to send her children to school and she plans to buy a plot of land to build a sturdy house for herself and her children, that can withstand the frequent strong winds that occur in this region. “I am convinced that the future is bright, and I’m no longer dwelling on the past. I still have so many great things to accomplish and my life doesn’t have to stop.”