September 15 2010

Third SOS Children's Village in Swaziland officially opened

14/09/2010 - On 10 September 2010, SOS Children's Village Swaziland opened its new village in Siteki in resounding euphoria as they were graced by both His Majesty King Mswati III and Her Majesty the Queen Mother, together with the Cabinet and a number of organisations.

Photo: SOS Archives
King Mswati III and the Queen Mother in the middle, Leutloa Moteetee (left), Dudu Dlamini (second left; national director) and board member - Photo: SOS Archives

His Majesty praised the great work done by SOS Children's Villages in helping out the vulnerable and disadvantaged children in the country. He further pointed out that it was very important that we all worked together as a nation to support this work.

"SOS Children's Villages is an organisation that is pivotal in the protection and grooming of the Swazi child. Therefore, companies, and Swazi people that are able, need to reach out and give support to SOS Children's Villages." The King also thanked for the great performance done by the children who touched on the history and great work done by the organisation.

Photo: Brenda Dimbleby
SOS Children's Village Siteki comprises twelve family houses - Photo: B. Dimbleby

Leutloa Moteetee, SOS Children's Villages International representative, also conveyed his sentiments on the support given to SOS Children's Villages Swaziland. He pointed out that this showed that, indeed, the saying, "It takes a village to raise a child" is true, was shown by the support of the King and the Swaziland government. He then requested that this support should not stop today but only be the beginning.

After all the speeches and events, the King was shown the facility by the national director, Dudu Dlamini, with the board of governors' chairperson. This was then followed by the planting of a tree and official opening of the facility by His Majesty King Mswati III who has taken the patronage for SOS Children's Villages Swaziland in 1998.


Photo: Gunter Bieringer
Photo: G. Bieringer
Siteki is the third SOS Children's Village in Swaziland (the other two are located in Mbabane and Nhlangano) and has been operational since December 2009. Siteki is located in the east of the country, in the Lubombo region between Manzini and the border with Mozambique. Development within this particular region is progressing at a slow rate and it is difficult for the locals to access necessary services. Overall, the HIV/AIDS pandemic combined with widespread poverty has left nearly one-third of all children in Swaziland living under extremely poor and difficult circumstances.

SOS Children's Village Siteki consists of twelve family houses for up to 120 orphaned, vulnerable or neglected children. An SOS Kindergarten, an SOS Medical Centre, an SOS Social Centre and offices for the family strengthening programme are situated on another plot of land just across the street, forming a "community service centre" for the neighbourhood. An already existing nearby primary school was extended and supported with the aim of increasing its performance capabilities and its capacity to admit children both from the SOS Children's Village and the surrounding community.

The SOS Kindergarten offers pre-school education to up to 100 children both from the SOS Children's Village and the surrounding community. The SOS Medical Centre provides basic health care to the community including a mother-and-child clinic offering ante-natal and post-natal services to women in the neighbourhood. In order to improve the general health conditions, health education and information are also on offer. Up to 2,000 patients a year benefit from the services of the SOS Medical Centre in Siteki. The SOS Hermann Gmeiner Primary School with its additional, newly erected classrooms offers enough space to accommodate up to 750 pupils. The efforts of the SOS Social Centre and the family strengthening programme mainly focus on children and families affected by HIV/AIDS. The family strengthening programme is projected to be able to reach out to about 800 children living with terminally ill parents or in a child-headed or granny-headed household within four years after its inception.

In total, the social programmes of SOS Children's Villages in Swaziland benefit more than 12,000 children and adults.