Pastor Edward Mkhonta and the Philadelphia Assemblies of God Church are caring for more than 270 orphans in their village of Mgambeni. The project was begun with a broiler chicken business, followed by a clean-water well. The health of the community improved very rapidly and dramatically. Following the drilling of the well, the church started a training garden, where 30 children learn from their caregivers how to raise vegetables. Once they can do it themselves, the children can start their own gardens at home with assistance from the church. The church then got community members together to start a community farm. This farm not only feeds many orphans and vulnerable children, but sends them to school as well.
Last year, Pastor Edward took us to the mountain top above Mgambeni, and showed us 5 homesteads with 22 orphaned children living there. We were able to drill a new well on the mountain top, and now 30 families there have begun tending their own gardens. They are also growing indigenous chickens to provide protein for their families. We also planted a church there, that has 40 people gathering regularly for prayer!
Pastor Daniel Mazibuko of International Victory Christian Church began a 14-member pastor’s network in this village, through which orphans are cared for and orphan caregivers were identified. 30 of the caregivers are working in cooperatives to run their own poultry businesses. More than 150 children are cared for by these women. These projects are managed by our agribusiness partners, Africa Works.
A large church building was constructed in 2007, which now houses a preschool and a free clinic. Previously, this community had no preschool and no access to medical care. The church also has a hammer mill (gristmill) that grinds corn into meal, that the church uses as a service to the community. The preschool is used by about 30 children, many orphaned.
Pastor Douglas Simelane and the International Victory Christian Church care for 70 orphans in their community. They are farming sweet potatoes and vegetables to feed the children.
David Simelane, our country coordinator has undergone thorough training in developing Pastors Networks and HIV/AIDS and orphan care through our World Relief partners. David is now in the process of developing Pastors Networks, HIV/AIDS and orphan care training.
Poultry farm training for all three of our poultry farms took place at the end of January. The Mayaloza Church hosted workers from Mgambeni and Nsindatje for the three-day intensive training given by our commercial poultry farming partners.
There is trememendous need for economic empowerment of women to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. Through our projects, we are caring for and protecting orphans, but we also need to give women economic opportunity if they are to resist trading their bodies for food to feed their families. To this end, our Partnership with World Relief’s Africa Works (AW) has begun. Registration of the non-profit organization in Swaziland is under way. Advocates will sit on the Swazi AW board. We now need significant funding to invest in the first project. We would also appreciate the engagement of business people willing to mentor new entrepreneurs.