SOS Children began working in Siteki in 2009 in response to the plight of children living in the Lubombo region. Poverty, food insecurity, lack of infrastructure and HIV/AIDS are serious challenges faced by people living in the town and its surrounds.
We provide a support network, medical care and assistance for struggling families and vulnerable children.
HIV/AIDS impacts children
Siteki is a small town located in the Lubombo region, just over 100 kilometres from the capital city, Mababane and about 30 kilometres from the Mozambique border. Siteki has a population of nearly 6,500 inhabitants. Tourism provides a small part of the town’s income since its location is ideal for visitors travelling to Kruger Park, Mozambique and St Lucia.
In spite of the area’s natural beauty and fertile land, poverty is a serious social challenge for the majority of the population. People often lack the skills, or capital, needed to farm the land, and if family members fall ill, they can no longer work. Food insecurity is a daily threat to the wellbeing of Siteki’s residents.
In addition, its people are severely affected by HIV/AIDS, leaving many people ill and thousands of children orphaned. It is estimated that 60% of hospital admissions in region are to due HIV/AIDS related illnesses, and the majority of deaths occur in those aged 15 to 49 years. Children living with terminally ill parents, or those without parental care, are particularly vulnerable.
Health care services are extremely limited in the region, and poor housing, lack of sanitation and reliable sources of clean water, are a serious health risk to the population.
Deprivation and a lack of education cloud the futures of Siteki’s young people
Siteki is located in a rural region where the primary industry is agriculture. It is one of the country’s poorest areas and its inhabitants suffer deprivation, and have limited access to clean water and sanitation: 20% of the population has no access to toilet facilities at all. The mortality rate for children under the age of five years is high in the region.
Residents of Siteki and the surrounding region receive fewer years of education than people living in other parts of the country and only 29% of children go on to attend secondary school.
Our work in Siteki
SOS Children began work in Siteki in 2009 with its family strengthening programme. By reaching struggling families in the town and offering support, the programme helps to alleviate daily hardship and keep families together wherever possible. A stable family environment is important to children’s healthy development.
Keeping families together
The Siteki SOS Social Centre provides children with education, health and nutritional services, and assists families with food packages, scholarships, literacy classes and help with improving their living conditions.
To help parents, the SOS Social Centre offers guidance in parenting skills, income generation and food production, and also provides counselling where needed. Families affected by HIV/AIDS are also a particular focus of the centre. SOS Children continues to work with organisations in Siteki to increase the support network for families living in severe hardship.
At the SOS medical centre, we provide essential healthcare, with a focus on treatment for HIV/AIDS. We offer HIV testing and provide counselling for individuals affected by the virus.
Loving family home
Every child in our care grows up as part of an SOS family, surrounded by their SOS brothers and sisters, and looked after by their SOS mother. Here children live in a family home alongside SOS brothers and sisters, cared for by an SOS mother. Young children from the Village and surrounding area attend the SOS nursery, forming friendships from a young age and integrating with their community at the earliest opportunity.
From infancy to adulthood, we support children with noone else with all they need to thrive. Our work is only possible with the generosity of child sponsors.