The inspirational Fr Julião Mutemba, an Anglican priest in Lebombo diocese, died very unexpectedly in May 2013. Juliao was a gifted and hard-working priest whose life embraced a wide variety of people and places.
Fr Juliao Mutemba worked tirelessly for the people at the 17 hectare Hulène rubbish dump near Maputo’s international airport in Mozambique; the ‘Rubbish Dump Ministry’ which MANNA supported. He discovered that most children on this dump had no birth certificate and he well understood the significance of a birth certificate for children and families living and working there: “When children under school age came to us for baptism, we discovered that most of them had not been registered,” he said.
“Living without birth registration means that, even if children can begin the first school grades, they will stop somewhere because they cannot take examinations without the documents. They cannot gain access to work, to basic services such as electricity, water, SIM card registration. It is as if people are denied any aspect of development.”
For Juliao, it was as if the children were strangers in their own land, so his church started including education about birth registration in its outreach work among families. Parents are made aware how important it is to take this step towards a safer and more hopeful future for their children. An estimated 700 people lived on the dump, which has piles of waste reaching up to 15 metres high.
He wrote “My interest in social development is urban transformation, addressing the challenges of the urban poor [and] by doing so joining to those who are ‘seeking the welfare of the city’ (Jeremiah 29.7). [In] the city where I am living, there are challenges of homelessness, street children, people living on the dump, human trafficking, child abuse, unemployment, and the church needs to participate as God’s agent for transformation.”
Fr Juliao Mutemba also worked at the Christian Council of Mozambique, was on the board of Hope Africa. Click here to go to an ALMA report he wrote in November 2012 before he died.