Giving something back
eSwatini struggles beneath its burden of poverty. The HIV/AIDS epidemic has wrought havoc, with orphans and vulnerable children now accounting for an estimated 15% of the population. Numerous non-governmental organisations (NGOs), from international bodies to local grass-roots charities, are today working to help the most vulnerable in society. The watchwords for many are empowerment and sustainability – in other words, helping people to help themselves rather than simply providing handouts. This creates opportunities for volunteers, and there are many ways in which to become actively involved during your trip to eSwatini– or, after returning, to give something back. The organisations in the list below are among those that would welcome your money or – even better – your time and skills.
Guba (mob: 7621 3230; email: email@example.com; www.gubaswaziland.org) Local NGO that aims to help develop impoverished communities by providing skills in sustainable farming. Projects, including short courses in permaculture and other sustainable land-use and energy techniques, are based on a farm near Mahlanya. Welcomes all donations and anyone with skills to share.
Kambhoke School and orphanage (mob: 7661 7839; email: firstname.lastname@example.org) Primary school in southern eSwatini set up by retired businessman and ex- government minister Sipho Mamba. Provides free education and accommodation for more then 50 orphaned and vulnerable children. Twinned with a school in Wales.
Positive Women (http://positivewomen.org) A UK international development charity formed in 2005 that works to improve the lives of women and children affected by HIV/AIDS. Develops and manages a number of projects through its partner NGO Swaziland for Positive Living (SWAPOL), based in Manzini. Key areas are education, income generation and creating healthier communities. Has sent over 500 HIV/AIDS orphans to primary school and established a number of income-generation projects led by women in rural communities.
Swazi Volunteers (http://swazivolunteers.com) Local volunteer scheme aimed primarily at travellers and backpackers who want to experience and contribute to community life. Run by Mxolisi Mdluli of Woza Nawe , the projects are based at primary schools, pre-schools and hospitals, and volunteers live at either the backpackers’ lodge outside Manzini or in the rural village of kaPhunga. Volunteering packages include activities and excursions.