Nkhaba Chiefdom (inkhundla) with a population of 15’704 (2007 census) is one of the coldest places in Swaziland. It is located in the Hhohho District, Mbabane, Kingdom of Swaziland.
Challenges faced by parents/guardians and children
- Delays in payment of orphaned and vulnerable children’s (OVC)grants, forcing some children to stay away from school
- Transport is not available or very limited for most children
- For most children, school is about 40km away, very few parents can afford the transport fee which is the same as an adult’s, minimum rate being E12.00 SZL (0.97 US cents) for a return journey.
- Though it is the responsibility of the guardian to provide uniform, it is often expensive and some parents/guardian find it difficult to provide their children, especially in winter, causing some children to be sent back home for wearing “wrong” uniform, thus traumatizing both child and parent/guardian.
- The dangers of idleness – there are inadequate recreational facilities in almost all the Nkhaba regions, though some children help with farming, they still need time to broaden their minds in other fields as growing minds.
- Given that some children will stay at home unsupervised, some working parents are concerned that they may be recruited into crime, engage in illicit sex, drug abuse and all that goes with idleness.
- Parents also fear that they will get financially overwhelmed by the children’s’ needs especially food as unlike affording parents who send their children to holiday.
A brief back-ground of beneficiaries. (Pilot stage)
- Children currently attend on Saturdays only depending on the weather.
- We are a team of three volunteers working from a neighbors’ kitchen.
- Classes are from 13:30pm to 16:30pm with 2 breaks of 15 minutes.
- Future plan is to have 3 days a week during school holidays and weekends during school term.
- Currently the children are made up of 70% boys and 30% girls between 6 and 17 years of age.
- Children are all students in a Government school where they are provided with free education and 2 meals per school.
- The majority of parents toil their land mainly maize, beans and have domestic animals which sustains them throughout the year.
- Most children in general are looked after by their grandparents or siblings mainly due to the HIV and AIDS pandemic.