Manzini, Swaziland

Manzini Youth Care (MYC) provides the basic needs of food, shelter, education, training, life skills, and medical care for orphaned or abandoned children in Swaziland, Africa. Such a need arises from the devastating effects of Swaziland’s HIV/AIDS pandemic. MYC provides outreach and transitional care for children living on the streets with the goal of re-integrating children into their communities. MYC also provides ongoing residential care for those children with nowhere else to go. 

Each year we care for over 100 Swazi children, some as young as five years of age in six residential homes. With poverty showing no signs of abating in Swaziland, the demand on MYC’s Enjabulweni Bridging School has continued to grow. Too old for their grades in mainstream schools and unable to pay the costly school fees, the Bridging School offers children over ten years old the opportunity to fast track through the primary school system. 

As a strategy to meet increasing funding challenges, MYC has developed a range of income generating projects which serve to meet the social problems of the local poor people while enhancing the sustainability of MYC. Examples include raising chickens, beekeeping and honey production, and the creation and sale of local jams and curries. 

MYC’s most recent sustainability endeavor, Imvelo Eswatini is dedicated to improving the lives of women through the creation and sale of ceramic jewelry and unique sisal handbags. Twenty-six women participated in this project in 2014 and Imvelo Eswatini is currently one of MYC’s most promising income generators. 

To more efficiently meet the health needs of our youth population, the MYC Community Clinic was established. Since 2012, the clinic has attended to the medical needs of some 300 people every month. The clinic nurse is also part of the community outreach program visiting terminally ill members of the community unable to afford health services. Manzini Youth Care is working hard to mobilize the necessary resources to establish a youth Voluntary Counseling and Testing section for HIV as too many youth remain untested for the disease. 

The ultimate success of MYC is measured by its ability to adequately prepare the children for smooth reintegration into their communities or entry into the world outside of MYC. Equipped with education and skills based qualifications, 16 children were recently assisted under the exit program to embark on a meaningful life outside the organization.