The children, youth, SOS mothers, staff and management from Siteki village extend their warm greetings to all friends and supporters of SOS Children’s village Siteki. The year has started on a high note with all children rearing to go back to school and start their year studies.
Swaziland was privileged to have rains throughout the early part of the year that made it possible for farmers to realise better harvest than in the previous year. Siteki being in the eastern part of the country used to suffer droughts and whatever means of securing water would dry up before the winter arrives. The vegetable gardens in the village are appetizing for the eye to see and we are proud to say that the families get some vegetables from their own gardens.
The Siteki SOS Children’s Village currently has ninety nine children under Family Based Care, six attending nursery, eighty enrolled in primary school and thirteen enrolled in secondary school. The Village has ten family houses in full operation and admissions for the two remaining family houses have been conducted. The SOS Children’s Village Siteki has received three sets of visitors since the beginning of the year. The first group of visitors that came in January 2012 was interested in the progress of the family they are sponsoring and assisting in setting up an income generating or youth training centre project as well as a recreational facility for the children in our care. The second group arrived in February and their interest was the Medical Centre which they are sponsoring. The third group of visitors came with students and teachers and were more interested in child and granny headed families in the families of origin that are assisted through our programme. They also visited the construction project at the local primary school, where they found the four new classrooms in full operation.
The Family Strengthening Programme (FSP) currently has three hundred and ninety two children who are beneficiaries, twenty nine toddlers, twenty eight in nursery, one hundred and eighty three in primary school, one hundred and twenty four in high school, eight in tertiary, seventeen completed but not attached yet, and three in special need. The FSP is also in the process of increasing the number of beneficiaries to meet the targeted number of five hundred and fifty 550 children. We are doing our utmost best in working within the available resources conscious that the quality of care for children in our programmes is not compromised. The FSP has successfully executed its duties on several aspects in its mission to assist families in accordance with the three keys being; providing access to essential services, capacitating caregivers to provide quality parenting skills (capacity building) and sufficient family resources. Community Based Organisations have been formulated where the groups are striving towards self reliance by doing several income generating projects that contribute to some of their children’s needs.
The Nursery currently has a total capacity of fifty seven pupils. Family Based Care has six children and FSP has five whilst the community has forty six. Two students from Finland came and conducted a story crafting exercise with eleven nursery children after consent was sought from their caregivers and or parents. This was followed by a weeklong workshop on “Narrative Research Methodology on Story Crafting for Education Managers” which was held at the University of Swaziland with the help of Finland Lecturers. The nursery welcomed visitors from Norway who donated toys, pens, T. shirts and played different types of games with the children.
As a result of the Educational Forum that took place in SOS Children’s Villages Siteki in 2011, a feasibility study was conducted during the first quarter of this year. It looked at the gaps that the education system had and determined the effect of the enrolment bearing in mind that due to unforeseen circumstances children were not always enrolled at the right given age range thus affecting their performance. The following recommendations which will help improve the quality of education especially around the Siteki area covered the following: supporting capacity building of the three communities we work with to clearly comprehend their role as primary educators; conducting team building exercises for caregivers and teachers in order to complement each other’s efforts; strengthen existing and initiate the literacy program in the other areas; empower communities on the reduction of prejudice against the girl childs’ exposure to education through organised dialogues and assist the Siteki community to develop an action plan for the community strategy of education.
Workshops on child care and development have been conducted for caregivers, to enrich their knowledge on child care issues. Children are having forums in promotion of child participation on issues affecting them that are in line with the Child Protection and Education policies. Support groups for children and caregivers have been formed in the communities and we are working on strengthening the programmes in place with the support of our partner Swaziland Aids Support Organization (SASO).
Sporting activities that include soccer, volley ball and netball have been started in earnest and the children participate in tournaments outside the village. The Siteki programme takes this opportunity once again to express its heartfelt gratitude for your unending support.
SOS Children's Village Siteki