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Joao's Story
September 1999
Age: Six

Born in a country that has been devastated by war has been tough for six-year-old Joao.

His family was on the run after his dad was killed in the civil war in Angola. It's hard for a mother to look after her two sons on her own.

To make matters worse, Joao's mother lost her right leg in a road accident. For Joao and his older brother Paolo it was a pretty scary time.

Along with injury and death, war causes other problems too. It wasn't long until the family ran out of food and Joao and Paolo had nothing to eat.

Joao's mother feared for her son's life because he'd had nothing to eat for so long. He was malnourished and had no energy. The only way the family could earn any money to buy food was to collect firewood in the outlying forests. That's not an easy task in a countryside that is covered in landmines.

After months of being on the run, the family made it to a World Vision feeding centre. Paolo helped feed Joao some rations.

Joao was lucky, he survived. By September 1999, he was looking very healthy. There was light in his eyes and some hope for the future.