Miguel* first came to SOS Children's Village Tete as a frightened eight-year old. He had been found along with four other young children in an abandoned wagon on the outskirts of Tete. The group had been kidnapped by RENAMO fighters, taken from their parents in Sofala province and then abandoned by the soldiers.
UNICEF officials found the bedraggled group and ensured that they found a safe home with SOS Children's Villages Mozambique.
Eight-year-old Miguel found solace in drawing. "I always drew a soldier fighting: that was the only thing that came up in my mind then. But I had a feeling that despite those traumatic scenes I had witnessed, I had an inborn gene of drawing."
Miguel grew up in SOS Children's Village Tete and completed both his primary and secondary education there. He passed his exams and was interested in all the things that young boys are traditionally interested in - with the notable inclusion of art. Miguel was always drawing!
It was impossible for his SOS mother to ignore his talents. In fact, everyone who came into contact with him soon became aware of the young artist in their midst.
Miguel transferred to Maputo, Mozambique's capital city, after completing his secondary education to enable him to take a course in fine arts at the respected Maputo School of Fine Arts.
Afterwards, Miguel put his talents to creative use during the building of SOS Children's Village Pemba. This village is situated on the east coast of Mozambique within sight of the sea, and Miguel took the sea as a theme for a series of three dimensional murals which decorate each of the houses in the village. Using concrete, Miguel was able to produce the beautiful ornamental sculptures which are the pride of each house.
Miguel has also created murals for SOS Children's Village Maputo. One outstanding example includes a likeness of Hermann Gmeiner (founder of SOS Children's Villages) and Helmut Kutin (current president of SOS Children's Villages) and is one of the first things that a visitor to the village sees.
Miguel currently works as an art teacher at SOS Hermann Gmeiner School Maputo. However, he has recently applied for a graphic design course at Cape Town University in South Africa. He feels that his portfolio is well up to standard, but he is now waiting for his Mozambican diploma in fine arts to be recognised by the South African Qualification Authority.
In ten years' time, Miguel sees himself as an entrepreneur running his own business in Mozambique. He will be using his talents in combination with computer technology to run a company producing promotional material such as calendars and business cards. Of course, he will also continue with his personal creative work.
* For privacy reasons, we have changed the name of the young man.