SOS Children's Villages Eswatini

News

Training of Media Houses on Alternative Care and Foster care

SOS Children’s Villages in Collaboration with the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office organized a media training to sensitize journalist on alternative care options in particular foster care. In attendance during the training were six different media houses, with a total of twelve journalist who were trained and given a media package consisting of the UN Guidelines on alternative care; Eswatini Guidelines on Alternative Care amongst other child protection laws related documents.

With the upcoming foster care media campaign to be launched prospectively on 15 March 2021, SOS Children’s Villages Eswatini together with the DPMO’s office, ensure that the media has a buy in first, and are trained to understand the situation of children without parental care in the context of Eswatini. Discussing in particular the solutions to those problems, as well as the media’s role in the matter.

During the training, which was held at the Hilton Gardens inn hotel, it was highlighted that Eswatini has about 40-child care Centre’s, of which the Government only owns and manages one of them. These Centre’s cater for over 2000 children, who are in need of parental care, making foster care a need in Eswatini, said Sindi Dube, Director of the Department of Social welfare.

The media will be very instrumental in assisting to educate the Swazi nation about foster care and alternative care options as a whole, since it is a new concept in the country.  During several presentations, it came out well in a research study done by SOS Children’s Villages Eswatini in the Shiselweni Region, that Swazis are used to taking care of children within their extended family settings, making kinship care an informal care option that is commonly practiced. However, the issue of children without adequate parental care is prevalent in the country as more homesteads are child headed.

Makhosini Mndawe, Principal Secretary of the Deputy Prime minister’s Office said ,” the Government is working tirelessly in formalizing Alternative care options for Emaswati, in particular implementing foster care to support the needs of children without parental care”, when talking to the media during an interview. He further thanked SOS Children’s Villages for the support in taking initiative to work with Government in solving these issues. The success of the training was visible as the media was commenting and publishing stories of the training on-air (Television and Radio) and on Print. Both major newspaper covered the article as well as an online source. Together these media platforms reach more than 500 thousand audiences.

THE BIG WIN, First Runner up – JA Winning

SOS Children’s Villages Eswatini signed a partnership agreement with Junior Achievement (JA) Eswatini. This initiative saw the formation of three companies namely; Ekutfokomeni Youth Pride Company from Siteki, Vigour Development Company from Nhlangano and Revolution of the Youngsters from Mbabane. These companies are owned by a total of 109 young people from the MA where 52 are from Siteki, 32 from Nhlangano and 25 from Mbabane Programme Locations. That is not all as the whole Programme is divided into two sections in each location.

For youth aged between 13 and 15 the offering is financial literacy, where the youngsters are given a chance to participate as Lubane Cooperative Society members and holders of student accounts at Eswatini Bank. The Mini Companies mentioned above belong to the young people who are aged 16 and above. Aimed at empowering young people, the mini companies are formed to equip members with financial and entrepreneurship skills, including starting income generating projects over a managed period of time (normally 10 weeks) from start to liquidation. They buy shares and use that amount as start-up capital for their income generating projects. After liquidation, these companies compete against other mini companies formed by students in different schools. The competitions start in Regions where the top four schools then compete nationally. SOS youth were new players in the game, but this did not stop them from entering the competitions.

Ekutfokomeni Youth Pride Company obtained second position and a trophy in the Lubombo Region after showcasing their company which produces broiler chickens and peanut butter. Vigour Development Company obtained position 6 in the Shiselweni Region and the products they produce are hand/dish washing liquid and broilers while Revolution of the Youngsters produces African jewellery and other pieces of art and they obtained position 5 in the Hhohho Region.

These companies are composed of highly motivated, focused, vibrant and committed boys and girls who need minimum supervision. They surprised their facilitators by working extra hard and respecting the leaders that they chose amongst themselves as Executive Committee Members. All shareholders were cooperative and goal driven until the end.

By history and perception, children who find themselves in the hands of SOS Children’s Villages, depend solely on donors, that is, money just comes from donors and young people are supposed to sit back and watch the donor carry them all the steps of their lives without putting in any effort. These company initiatives are here to overturn such a perception and get youth to align themselves with the mission statement of SOS Children’s Villages “We build families for children in need, we help them shape their own futures and we share in the development of their communities”. These companies aim at strengthening the capability of youth to shape their own futures through financial empowerment and entrepreneurship.`

World children’s day

The children hosted the event. The program directors of the day created a pleasant mood and started the event by inviting the distinguished guest to the dance floor. The children had well prepared for the event with the assistance of their SOS mothers and educational teachers. During the event, different children were reimagine a better world for every child sharing inspirational messages to teach, poetry to motivate and drama to inspire. They had beautifully displayed their artwork, that was used to teach about wrong habits to avoid during covid-19 and inspire others children with skills to be busy with during the schools lockdown. Dances were the order of the day as both boys and girls interchanged dances moves entertaining the guest.

Although he appreciated the government intervention with providing free educational lessons through the national television and radio, he commented that virtual/ online learning has now passive and not interactive, as not many chances are afforded to students to ask at home whilst the lessons are ongoing. The student teacher interaction is minimal and thus students learn without understanding and comprehension of concepts.

During an open dialogue Bandile Mabuza representing children in the Kingdom of Eswatini commented on the issues that children face during this pandemic, such as Gender based Violence that results to mental health issues in teenagers. He provided statistics that continue to show the gender inequality that prevails in Eswatini. He made an example of how young boys who impregnate girls are still allowed to continue with their education whilst, girls are kicked out of school and discontinue their education. Bandile emphasized the importance of equal education and stated that the lack of adequate ICT gadgets continue to create a huge educational divide between the poor and the affording learners.

He pleaded to the government and partners to provide less privileged children with the technological gadgets they need for virtual leaning to make their learning smooth. Bandile further suggested that schools could be opened with strengthened regulations during the pandemic. He concluded his open dialogue speech by requesting children’s representative in parliament or youth parliament to tackle most if not all children issues.

Every child is a treasure

UN Resident Coordinator; Nathalie Ndongo- Seh, applauded all the children for their impactful participation and dialogue. She said she was delighted in celebrating the day with the children at the SOS children’s Villages Mbabane. She further highlighted that every a child is treasure and the future of Eswatini. Although this year has been a year of devastation, she promised that the UN and partners would continue to fight for all children to go back to school and not fall into poverty.

Director of the children’s department at the Deputy Prime Ministers Office, Mhambi Ndlangamandla said “Everything you have said we will take into consideration when we are developing programmes for children in the department”.

Concluding the event, UNICEF Natalie Daries, who is head of child protection at UNICEF Eswatini Country Office was representing the Country Representative, mentioned that there is great improvement in the health and educational systems of Eswatini. She acknowledge that there is still more work to be done to ensure that every child is protected and can learn in order to reach their dreams.

I am a child!

The past week saw African countries celebrating the life of a child.  SOS Children’s Villages in Swaziland also joined forces with all other partners working in the country in commemorating this day. I took time out to discover who a child is and this does not mean I don’t have children myself or don’t know them but I really wanted to understand a Child from a perspective of a child. Often we assume who children are and what they believe in, want and basically their inner thoughts. So I took my pen and paper and comfortably sat with them for heart to heart conversations. Believe this had been one of my greatest lessons and informative conversations. From now on I believe me and you will learn and know what and who a Child is.

I am the child, all the world waits for my coming. All the earth watches with interest to see what I shall become. Civilization hangs in the balance. For what I am, the world of tomorrow will be. I am the child, I have come into your world, about which I know nothing, Why I came I know not, How I came I know not, I am curious, I am interested. I am the child, you hold in your hand my destiny, you determine, largely, whether I shall succeed or fail. Give me those things that make for happiness. Train me, I beg you, That I may be a blessing to the world. Always know that as my parent or relative I look up to you. Carve and walk your path well so that I may follow. There shall come a time where I will carve my own path but let your early influence not be one that me make my own path one filled with crooked ways, grief, pain and sorrow. I am only but a sponge and sucking in all that you present to me, let these not be what will harm the world in future.

Cannot Talk

I am the child who cannot talk. You often pity me; I see it in your eyes. You wonder how much I am aware of, yes I see that as well. I am aware of much, whether you are happy or sad or fearful, patient or impatient, full of love and desire, or if you are just doing your duty by me. I marvel at your frustration, knowing mine to be far greater, for I cannot express myself or my needs as you do. You cannot conceive my isolation, so complete it is at times. I do not gift you with clever conversation, cute remarks to be laughed over and repeated. I do not give you answers to your everyday questions, responses over my well-being, sharing my needs, or comments about the world about me. I do not give you rewards as defined by the world’s standards, great strides in development that you can credit yourself, I do not give you understanding as you know it. What I give you is so much more valuable — I give you instead opportunities. Yes, I give you opportunities to discover the depth of your character, not mine, the depth of your love, your commitment, your patience, your abilities, the opportunity to explore your spirit more deeply than you imagined possible. I drive you further than you would ever go on your own, working harder, seeking answers to your many questions with no answers. Yes, I am the child who cannot talk.

Cannot Walk

I am the child who cannot walk. The world seems to pass me by. Yes indeed you see the longing in my eyes to get out of this chair, to run and play like other children, just like your carefree bubbly children at play, I wish and long to be like them too. There is much you take for granted. I want the toys on the shelf, I need to go to the bathroom, oh I’ve dropped my fork again, but do you know how much I want to quickly run and pick it up myself self. Do you how much I sit each day and wish just to kick the ball. But all I know is I am dependent on you in these ways. My gift to you is to make you more aware of your great fortune, your healthy back and legs, your ability to do for yourself. Sometimes people appear not to notice me or turn their eyes the other ways in pity or sympathy each time they see me, well I always notice them. I feel not so much envy as desire, desire to stand upright, to put one foot in front of the other, to be independent. I give you awareness. I am the child who cannot walk.

Mentally Challenged

I am the child who is mentally impaired. I don’t learn easily, if you judge me by the world’s measuring stick, what I do know is infinite joy in simple things. I am not burdened as you are with the strife’s and conflicts of a more complicated life. My gift to you is to grant you the freedom to enjoy things as a child, to teach you how much your arms around me mean, to give you love. I give you the gift of simplicity. I am the child who is mentally impaired. I laugh at simple things which are the ones which make you judge me and see my mental challenges, well to me that the beauty of life, that random smile and deep laugh and something you can’t see any joy or fun in. My world is often beautiful in its own way because I don’t get to see the real struggles but my world is one you would call a wonder and yet still I appreciate and value that I have life.

Disability

I am the disabled child. I am your teacher. If you allow me, I will teach you what is really important in life. I will give you and teach you unconditional love. I gift you with my innocent trust, my dependency upon you. I teach you about how precious this life is and about not taking things for granted. I teach you about forgetting your own needs and desires and dreams. I teach you giving. Most of all I teach you hope and faith. I am the disabled child.

Life might have put me in my present situation due to so many different circumstance and reasons, but I can still share the joy of being a child .Walk with me one more day, laugh with me, share your heart and smile, because I AM A CHILD!

Family is more than blood!

Just the other day I sat and watched in admiration how the children as siblings at SOS Children’s Villages show so much love towards each other, how they seem to be there for the other and how their protective of their siblings. To think that these children are not biologically related and found themselves within the SOS Children’s Villages due to different painful life circumstances made me realize how family is not always about blood and indeed  no child was meant to be alone.

Life for me and these children has become more likened to  a sewing pattern where the needle draws us together, pulls us near, and with every stitch, we are closer to what we were always meant to be. And with every stitch, our love grows, covering us and giving us both all that we had longed for in life, they have been given a chance to a home and family while on the other hand I have been given the chance to be among those that I love dearly, children and we all make such an amazing family filled with love and its quite visible to us all. The random bursts of laughter when we cross paths around the village, our long “what do you want to be” chats, sharing of our dreams and of course the feeling pain when the other is in pain truly shows we might not be of one biological mother or father but love lives here and we know that what we are here at SOS Children’s Villages together is real.

I may not be sure of the many reasons why these children find themselves abandoned and neglected but I am pretty sure that you are going to be touched and melted by their genuine smiles and expression of love. It’s so pure you even tend to wonder if they are not affected by their situations. In one way or another, I believe you’re meant to see that what the world calls brokenness can be a thing of sure beauty, adorned in the best possible ways, unexpected and entirely holy.

Surely we are not all born with the best families, you might have been abandoned, neglected or had parents passing  away however that doesn’t mean that you’re alone in the world. You still have a family that loves you, they just might not be related by blood. We tend to find family in so many ways such as,

1. The people that raised you – Your guardians aren’t the only ones who helped raise you. Your teachers, your neighbors, and your friends all had a hand in helping you grow into the beautiful woman you are today. Even though you didn’t live under their roofs, they were a huge part of your life.

2. The people that you can count on – Who could you always count on to drive you home from school? Who showed up when you most needed someone to play a parental or family role in your life? Who always followed through on the promises  that they made you, no matter how difficult it was for them to do? These are surely people you can call family.

3. The people that believe in you – Family should be supportive of you. They should encourage you to follow your dreams, because they have unflinching faith that you can achieve whatever goals you set. They should believe in you even more than you believe in yourself. That surely what makes the SOS Children’s Villages such a close knit family. We rally behind each other, we surely never give up on the children, their dreams automatically become ours too. We cry with them during sad times and yes cheer them with our might. I even remember how much I so believe in the young boys that II believe are the best dancers I have seen so far, oh gosh these children can dance and believe me you I am one of their greatest cheerleaders, guess what they know that too! And if only you can hear me rave about them. And that what surely makes us family.

4. The people that won’t leave your side – Family won’t leave your side when things get rough. They’ll hold their ground and help you in any way that they can. It doesn’t matter if you lose your job, lose your house, or lose yourself to drugs, because they’ll always be there for you.

5. The people that keep in touch with you – If you’ve never met your birth mother, but you spend every holiday with your step-parents, they’re your real family. It doesn’t take much to push a baby out of your womb, but it takes a lot of effort to actually raise a child. That’s why the people you keep in touch with are your real family.

6. The people that know the little things – If your blood relatives don’t know your favorite television show or song, how well do they really know you? Your friends, who know your shoe size and your least favorite Skittle color, are the ones you should really be calling family.

7. The people that feel like home – You’ll always feel uncomfortable around certain people. Meanwhile, others will make you feel safe, like you’re right where you need to be. The people that make you feel like you’re at home every time you look at them are your real family.

8. The people that accept you –  Your real family won’t care if you’re an aspiring chef or artist. They won’t care if you’re gay or straight. They won’t care about anything other than your happiness. That’s the most important thing.

9. The people that would do anything for you – Your real family will do whatever they can for you. They’ll listen to you talk about nothing for hours. They’ll let you stay at their house when you had nowhere else to go. They’ll even take a bullet for you.

10. The people that love you –Family is all about love. That’s why you can consider your friends, coworkers, and pets family. If they love you and you love them, then you have a bond that’s even thicker than blood.

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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