SOS Children's Villages Eswatini

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Khanyi’s Story

HAD IT NOT BEEN FOR HERMANN GMMEINER’S SHILLING!

I am a 27 years old girl, born in Nhlambeni, Manzini. I was told that my birth brightened my parent’s life hence I was named Khanyisile.  However sometimes I wonder what happened to that “Light” because I was eventually raised up by my father single handedly. Did I mention that my father was not only just raising me a girl up alone but I had a younger sibling, which naturally made me turn into my brother’s mother when my father was away or when the was need to.

As if the misery of being raised by a father alone was not enough, disaster struck us once again when our father died just as I turned seven years old. The responsibility of bringing up me and my younger brother immediately fell on my grandmother. My grandmother tried all she could to take care of us, and she also took us to school all by herself as she would sell food at the markets. Later when I was ten, my grandmother was hit by stroke as she could not bear the loss of my father. But honestly was God there, was he watching over us and did He really love us, why were we suddenly losing all the people that were raising us, how were we supposed to grow up now. How on earth does a ten-year-old girl like me deal with all this now, what was happening to me and my brother, as young as he was, he looked up to me during nights when we had no food, he would ask me why we were suddenly not going to school and tell me how much he missed his friends at school.

Turning Point

Our life was such a roller coaster as the community would throw in what they could whenever they could. Difficult as life was we are grateful that the community was there for us, hence they alerted the Social Welfare Department about our plight and our journey of admission to SOS Children’s Villages began. We were engulfed with so much fear of being in a new place and with new people. But the mother we were given treated me and my brother lovingly. For the first time we felt love, we saw love and everyone around us seemed to be full of love, our new SOS mother introduced us to our new SOS brothers and sisters. I felt at home after a long time and started crying but this time it was with joy. We were a total of ten brothers and sisters in the family. My brother was also in the same house. One of my first memories is about my mother teaching me how to bake muffins. The love with which she helped me prepare the dough perhaps made the muffins more delicious. My SOS mother was a caring and loving person. She could somehow feel the trauma I had been through. She would spend long hours with us in the house, telling stories, encouraging and motivating us.  Gradually, I started opening up and began interacting with other children in the village. On weekends and week-days after school, I would play with them; skipping, volleyball and soccer were my favorites.

Over the years I started doing well at my school. It was surely because of the motivation on my mother’s part and the help I got from my SOS family. In the year 2008, I passed Grade 12 and later went to the University of Namibia for my first degree (BSc Hons in Agricultural Economics). Now I work for an organization as Assistant Project Coordinator, in which I am responsible for projects like youth employability capacity building, capacity building for CBOs on project management, and working directly with young people to improve their “soft skills”. Yes, I am happy, it all feels like giving back what was given to me. On the other note, I am looking forward to my admission for my Master’s degree as I am applying in various institutions. Oh Yes, for as long as there are people called Professors out there, Who Am I Not to Be??? Hahahaha…

I am very happy and thankful to SOS Children’s Villages for giving me a loving home and a bright future. I confidently confirm that I received love and care that a child needs to blossom into a responsible adult. Contributions from donors like you helped me in receiving a happy childhood and secure future. When I learnt that SOS Children’s Villages launched a fundraising campaign which calls every Swazi to support SOS Children’s Villages with at least ONE LILANGENI, tears streamed through my eyes as I remembered that had it not been for a man called Hermann Gmeiner who started a similar initiative so many years ago to assist children who had been in my situation, I would have not been who I am today.

You can be that chance today that a child in a similar circumstance and situation like mine gets a chance to life and education. Support SOS Children’s Villages today, donate ONE LILANGENI or more by simply dialing, *007*03*04*032# and sending the donation through Swazi MTN Mobile Money.

The Rainbow After My Storm

Each time there is a storm I rejoice not because of the damage it does but because I surely know there is a rainbow coming through. After all I have seen it happen in my own life, after the storm of losing both my parents when I was six years old in 2001. That was the most traumatic time of my life, imagine I was only six years old and suddenly my world changed drastically for me and my siblings. I never knew how to pray much at that age, but I knew there was God somewhere who was watching us, but for most of my time I would cry and wish for my parents. Just as if that was not enough my uncle who was our guardian suddenly died too, once again we were left with no one. What a storm we were going through with my siblings. Suddenly we were taken to SOS Children’s Villages in Nhlangano. Oh the God that I knew was watching was finally showing me He was there, here I was now in a house, with a loving mother and other children. Finally, I was warm after all my cold days and nights of crying and wishing for my parents. And cherry on top was that finally I was going to school like all other children.

About me

Well do you know me now, guess what I am now a bubbly twenty-one-year old young woman who is a dreamer. I am a girl of my world, who knows what I want and will not give up on my dreams, I have grown to be a responsible and independent young person. I am an active young woman who is always playful. I like telling jokes to my friends and family. I grew up in love with sports especially athletics, I have passion for it. It helps keep my body fit and health. Being involved in sports helps me Also, sports keeps me busy rather than doing things that I will regret in life. I am a multi-talented young person, a jack of all traits, as I am a competent athlete, netball star and a master of Volleyball. I have been shining in my schools in these different categories and have been known in my circles for such games.

Life at SOS

SOS Children’s Villages has been an extremely good home to me and my siblings. There are days when I wonder what could have happened to us would it not for been for SOS Children’s Villages. They gave me the chance to grow up in a home with so much love. I once again had the opportunity to have a person I can call a mother and what a good mother I had. She taught me and all the children she was raising in our family home to take good care of ourselves, how to do things at our own even though I sometimes I had a tough time when my mother would tell us to do house chores or ask me to do something but it is only now that I realize what a naughty child I would become sometimes and how patient, loving and caring she was. I sometimes thank God for the patience and wisdom that she gives SOS Mothers, because I have I have since realized how challenging raising a child can be, how much more when a mother raises ten children. These mothers indeed have a heart of gold. I am who I am now because of her together with the whole SOS Children’s Villages family, I really am grateful for you all.

Education

After my high school education, I enrolled for a secretarial course at Ngwane Park Youth and Training Centre where I obtained a Diploma in Secretarial and Business Skills in December 2016. I love this course because as I was growing up all I wanted was to work for big successfully companies, drive a big car and be the best I could be in the world and yes my dreams came true. Today I am a proud graduate. On the day I graduated tears were just streaming down my face as I remembered the storm that I had been through after losing my parents. Who could have though that this orphan was destined for greatness and could one day wear the big graduation gown and hat I was wearing. I cannot thank SOS Children’s Villages enough for rescuing me when all hope was lost and everything had crumbled around us.

Dreams

Despite being a graduate I still I want to further my studies. My dreams are still very big, I see myself in a very big office, I want to travel the world, I want to be my own boss and I want to take care of helpless children as well. I want to give other children the chance that SOS Children’s Villages gave me upon the death of my parents. I want to be an inspiration and give hope to the hopeless, for SOS Children’s Villages was my rainbow after my storm! Each time I introduce myself when motivating other young people, I say I am Philile Kunene, The Conqueror. Indeed, I have conquered and here I am basking in my rainbow!

Terrence’s Story

My name is Terrence Vilakati, from the Joppa area under the Maseyisini Inkhundla. Just like all children we were born in a balanced family, with a mother and a father to take care of us, but it was in July 2000, when one morning we woke up to realize that our mother had fallen very ill, we tried to organise a car to ferry her to the hospital but on arrival e she was certified dead. We were left in the care of our father, who tried to do all he could for us,but the departure of our mother had taken a toll on/of him that his health began to deteriorate and in March 2002 he passed on. That was when everything in life changed. We are a family of five-my elder brother, me, two brothers and a sister.

My elder brother was hardly home and from 2002 to 2004 life was a living hell for us. For the family to live i sometimes had to do piece jobs -when talking of piece jobs, i mean everything that availed itself,from cutting trees to security jobs. When my father died i was doing my form 5, and he had only paid the deposit for my school fees, and yah his departure exposed me because i knew i would be the first one to be sent home whenever there was that exercise for non-payment of fees. Indeed, when examtime drewclose, i was sent home for i had failed to even pay the exam fee.Well,later I wasrecalledto sit for my exam but off-course i did not do well. Due to the hardship my family faced I eventually dropped out of school to look for employment. I had toput food on the table at home.

One day in 2004, Ireceived informationthat people from SOS Children’s Villageshad paid my family a visit and they had promised to help us Yes, the organization lived to its promise and we were taken to the village where we were givena number of things, and in2005 I was able to once again attend school with no fear of lacking fees as there was someone Before best credit cards issuing banks linked up into a system, their money was called “rag money” and it lost power the further one got away from said bank geographically. to provideand mine was to concentrate on my school work. I did well and in 2006 i completed high school obtainingcredits in all the 8 subjects i was doing. My dream of going to university became a reality the following year,2007, when i was enrolled atthe University of Swaziland as a Bachelor of Commerce student. I completed my BA in 2012 and I am currently employed by the Swaziland Association of Savings and Co-operatives (SASCO). I would like to thank SOS Children’s Villages for the assistance we got. NowI have my education, I’m working and i can provide fully well for my family.

To all the people out there, giving up will never be a solution. A challenge not tackled remains a stumbling block for the rest of your life. This reminds me of wise words uttered by a drunkard from my community who found me pushing a wheelbarrow one day, and the moment i took a shortbreak, he shouted at me and said ”yewena silima, uma umile nalelibhara limile”, which translates as “hey you fool, you know when you stop, the wheelbarrow stops as well”. That man gave me something to reflect on in my life – when you do nothing about your current unfavourable situation, it will never go. Remember even the late former President of South Africa, Dr. Nelson Mandela said ”it always looks impossible until it is done”.

Simphiwe’s Story

I was born into a family of five children with me being the last born. Only two of my siblings shared a father and the rest of us all had different fathers; however unlike the rest I never knew my father neither did any of my relatives and all attempts to trace him failed. So I had nowhere to go when our mother died in a bus accident in 1995.

Through my aunt Make Fikile, in late 1996 or early 1997 I was admitted to the SOS Children’s Village, where I was gladly welcomed by make Mgazi. Soon I was enrolled into kindergarten. I really had good times back then even though most of the events that took place back then are quiet blurry now. I really enjoyed playing soccer with my friends at the field. Later, I was got into primary school and developed love for Math and English there. Unfortunately, Make Mgazi wouldn’t live that long and we got another mother, Make Simangele she was a bit strict. She handed me a lot of discipline which kept me out of trouble most of the time. After some time our mother was changed again, Make Simangele was replaced by Make Thoko who is down to earth and understanding. She taught me things about life since at that time I was entering my teen years.

When I passed my Grade 7 I changed schools, I left Hermann Gmeiner Primary for Evelyn Baring High School in Nhlangano. It was hard down there, since I had left all of my friends and family behind and it was a totally new experience for me. However, I quickly adapted to the new life, family and soon made lots of friends. Evelyn Baring was tough. The competition was high there and took me longer than I expected to the new academic life, I struggled in my first year there and left like going back to Mbabane.

Whoever I kept on working hard at school and had to sacrifice my playing time, and my results improved and when I sat for my Junior Certificate Examinations I got a First Class, It wasn’t the way I wanted it to be. Into my first term in form four at Evelyn Baring I was called for an entrance interview to Ghana International College.By that time I was preparing for my end of term exams so it really made the interview manageable. The results came and I had passed the interview. It was a bitter sweet feeling. I was going to Ghana and miles away from home and to my surprise I was the only Swazi there. The next four years were just the best years of my life; everything I had dreamt of, the competition at Evelyn Baring counted for nothing in Ghana, and it was more competitive and made me more competent and occupied positions like the International Relations Officer at the Pan-African Club, School Soccer Captain and School Entertainment Prefect. I was accepted at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg where I want to major in economics and international relations and I have no doubt it will be a wonderful experience.

Hermann Gmeiner’s Day/SOS International Day

The SOS Children’s Villages International Day was celebrated but in a different style.The children, youth, mothers andother SOS staff celebrated this day with members of staff from various corporate companies. The main objective was to bring the companies closer to SOS Children’s Villages in order that the companies are more aware of whom they give back to and also to create rapport between child and supporter. Companies present on the day included Swaziland Water Service Corporation, Swaziland National Sports Council, Swazi Television, First National Bank, Lidwala Insurance Company, Royal Swaziland Police, Inyatsi Construction and Macmillan Publishers. Each companywas invited to enjoy the day with a family by sharing love and warmth in a family house. The SOS family was overwhelmed by thepositive responsereceived as participating companies forwarded theirkind gesture in various forms of donation which included toys, food, clothing and bedding. The Swaziland Beverages also contributed towards this day by giving beverages. In an effort to enhance child participation, the programme coordinators of the day were children and a youth who role played as a fundraiser highlighting the financial needs of the organization. SOS Children’s Village international day commemorates the creation of the first SOS Children”s Village in the world, along with the birthday of the founder of our organization Hermann Gmeiner.

Day of the African Child

In June 2013, the programme celebrated the Day of the African Child together with children from other Residential Child Care Facilities around the country. This came after the launch of the same in Matsapha where two of children in our care, Swazi Dlamini and Bandile Mabuza, were select to direct the programme of the day. During the celebration a number of RCCF’s attended with a total of about 500 children who displayed their talents ranging from dancing, poetry to music. The day’s theme was “eliminating harmful cultural activities”. Through various forms of art such as recitation of poetry and drawings, the children were able to convey messages that are stressful to children and those of hope.

Helmut Kutin’s Visit

The National Association was blessed by the visit of theHonorary President of SOS Children’s Villages Dr Helmut Kutin. During his stay he visited all three programs.You should have been there to see the excitement on the faces of children, the youth, Mothers and staff. The day spent in eachprogramme was like a whole week especially to the SOS children and youth. During his brief visit DrKutinmade a stopin more than half of the family houses and youth homes. Each day in a programme was indeed one filled with delight, fun and laughter. To demonstrate their happiness the children and youth had different activities to showcase. Although DrKutin has been here before, one would swear it was his first time.

Child Development

Care and support in the life of every child is crucial during the stages of developing. SOS Children’s Villages considers child development as being critical in helping a child build a strong character and to be able to deal with different challenges of life. As such, the organization hosted a capacity building workshop for the children and youth during which several topics were covered. These included stages of development, drug abuse and mental health. In addition, a group of about 120 children attended a psycho-social camp at Mlawula. At the camp, the children were taught through play that regardless of obstacles one may encounter during the journey of life planning and proper decision making are key.

Story crafting

The Mbabane Programme has been facilitating a project on story crafting for kindergarten teachers. Teacher participants coming from various pre-schools, students from Finland, facilitators from the University of Swaziland (faculty of Sociology) and Turku University of Applied Sciences participated in the Narrative Research Method course. Part of the training was on basic grammar mainly used in analysing stories (verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives and reported speech)for teachers to better understand children’s narratives and the use of initial open ended questions, intermediate and ending questions while carrying out children’s Since affordablehealth.info companies have stricter regulations on what they can spend your premiums on there is less incentive for them to inflate rates. day to day activities. Approximately, one hundred pre-school teachers have been empowered on the basics of this method. The story crafting method yields quite a range of learning outcomes in developing vocabulary, language and oral skills. Children listen carefully in large and small group situations and talk about their experiences. They use a growing vocabulary with increasing fluency to express their thoughts and convey meaning to the listener. They develop the love of books through listening attentively. This enables them to respond better to stories, songs, poems and nursery rhymes. Children are often seen improvising their own stories and/or taking part in role plays. Story crafting also promotes the child’s communicative and interactive skills as well as boost the child’s self-esteem and confidence. Children who get used to telling their own narratives also learn to demand for attention and participation. They become courageous enough to be spontaneous and take initiative.

Community Empowerment

Community participation is key in driving the aims of the Family Strengthening Programme. Communities that we work in; Sidwashini, Msunduza, Mahhwalala, Mpolonjeni and Bahaiengage in a number of income generating projects in a bid to sustain themselves financially as well as create employment. In July, the Msunduza group was able to register as a formal community based organization under the Ministry of Commerce and Industryand were awarded their certificateby the Commissioner of Cooperatives. Registration of the CBOfollows a two year training programmein Financial Management, CBO Governance and Management which was offered by the Ministry. Family Strengthening Programme is the other SOS programme that supports children who have lost parental care or are at risk of losing parental within their families of origin.

Caregivers from the Mahwalala and Mpolonjeni area participated in the 2013 Trade fair to exhibit their produce with the aim of marketing themselves as well as to establish market for their products. The communities apart from engaging in income generating projects also boost of child care centres where children receive education and food. Recently, the Sidwashinicentre got an upgrade financed by the Rotary Club.

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