SOS Children's Village Mbabane is currently operating in full capacity of 130 children. In the youth homes we have 34 teenagers after integrating six back to their families of origin. Four of these have completed school and are waiting for enrolment in tertiary, whilst one opted for vocational training. It is sad though to report that, one had to be reintegrated due to pregnancy. However, the village is keeping a very close contact with her for emotional support and otherwise. A pre -youth programme has already been started in workshoping identified teenagers in the village to fill up the six spaces in the youth homes. This shall be followed by an admission of six more children into the village.
The children and youth performed very well in 2009 December examinations. Overall the passing rate was above 90%. However, some of the youths did encounter challenges that required them to repeat their classes. As a result study sessions have been intensified. At the beginning of the year, we were able to find spaces in secondary and high schools for all children who sat for external examination in 2009. The hiring of an Education Manager at the beginning of the year has been of great help to SOS Children’s Village. Children and youth are given academic advice for their different educational needs. SOS Children’s Villages believes this shall have great impact in enabling them achieve their future dreams. This year, the SOS Nursery operates in full capacity of 100 children.
It was predicted that this year’s winter shall be very cold. The children and mothers are well equipped for these very cold conditions. This has brought a massive daily increase on the number patients attended by the SOS Clinic cold related illnesses.
A lot of activities took place in the country and attracted a lot of people locally and internationally. The Bush Fire festival, a yearly three day live music event that attracts local and international artist, the Kings Birthday and Buganu Ceremony. All these activities attract a number of friends within and outside the country. These activities have also done well for the Children’s Villages here in Swaziland. We have had visitors coming after hearing about the Children’s Villages and the kind of work that we do. Some have not come empty handed but brought gifts of different kinds for the children in our care. SOS Children’s Village is very grateful for their donations. These donations whether big or small put such big lovely smiles on the children’s faces.
The country also geared itself for the FIFA World Cup by launching a campaign called Visit Swaziland. The main aim of this exercise was to mobilize the world teams and supporters to also consider Swaziland as another area of interest that can be visited. What make us to be one of the countries in the world that cannot be missed by visitors are the beautiful scenery and the unique Swazi culture. Through the campaign Swaziland has been put in the spotlight and SOS Children’s Villages shall somehow benefit as more visitors will want to see the good work done by the SOS Children’s Villages in Swaziland.
We have had quite a number of staff training in the past six months. All staff members have undergone trainings either on Programming, Child Protection Policy, or Education Policy. All of these are in the 2010 National Plan. SOS Mothers have further received training on Special Needs Education and Stress Management. Two of the four SOS mothers due for retirement in 2010 attended a Golden Year Training Programme, preparing them for retirement. They then shared what they have learned with all other mothers.
The opening of a third facility in Siteki has seen some staff members from Mbabane facility moving to Siteki. Those staff members had to be replaced hence Mbabane Facility has a few new staff members. All SOS Children’s Village mothers were treated to a nice lunch on Mother’s Day at a Game Park called Nisela Safaris. They were excited especially that on this special day they did not have to cook for their children. Although some of them were heard saying “I am enjoying the meal but then what about my children back in the village. Wish I could take some for them”
The new facility in Siteki will be officially opened on 20 August 2010. Everyone in the other two facilities is excited. The family of SOS Children’s Villages in Swaziland is expanding and this means more sisters and brothers. Staff members, Mothers and children are all busy preparing for this day.
SOS Children’s Villages Mbabane will forever be grateful for all your support. Without your support we would not be able to care and support so many wonderful children. Your support and contribution is highly appreciated.