Mbabane: The SOS Children Village is taking care of over 2000 children in the country.
This was disclosed by the principal secretary in the Deputy Prime Ministers office Makhosini Mdawe during a media training organized by SOS Children’s villages which is a build up to the launch of the Foster Care Programme, which has been adopted by government.
Mndawe disclosed that the country has about 40 care homes taking care of children. He said of the 40 care pints there are about 2013 children who are being taken care of by the SOS children villages.
Data shows that Eswatini is a lower middle income country with a population of 1.3 million. Despite its status as a lower middle income country, 70 percent of Swazis lives below the national poverty line and 45 percent of children are orphaned or vulnerable. Chronic malnutrition is a main concern in Eswatini with stunting affects and 26 percent of children under the age of five.
Mndawe noted that with the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic there are many children who are now vulnerable and need help.
The Principal Secretary in his remarks also highlighted that there was therefore a need to revive the culture of taking care of each other while ensuring that nobody is an orphan.
“Today’s discussions are mainly on the situations that require alternative care in the context of Eswatini and Alternative care gaps and challenges”. “Reviewing, in particular, the Role of the Media in Protecting the Rights of Children in Need Situations that require alternative care in the context of Eswatini”, he said
The Mndawe was echoed by Loretta Mkhonta of SOS who said they were on a move working with government towards formalization of foster caring of children who need alternative care.
She said given the overview of children in the country, there were many children who had no parental care. Mkhonta said the United Nations had adopted a resound on alternative care and therefore issued guidelines which now the SOS children’s villages is acting on.
She highlighted that part of SOS mandate is to provide care and support to children who are at risk of losing parental care and children that have already lost parental care. “We believe every child should grow up in a loving family environment”.
The first SOS Children’s Village in Swaziland was officially opened and named Engonweni in 1990. In 2001 the Nhlangano village was officially opened. In 2010 the Siteki village was officially opened and named Ekutfokomeni.