Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Zondle Orphanage

Today a wonderful woman in her 80’s called Gogo (Grandma) Simelane took Rev. Ngema and I to a girls and then a boys home/orphanage. The girls’ orphanage was opened circa 1967 by Zondle Mother’s Organization. Roughly translated, Zondle means to teach one to be responsible for them self.

Zondle Mother’s Organization started with a feeding scheme called Save the Children to feed children in the communities who couldn’t afford to pay for lunch during school. The need was very great. Then the communities started identifying children who were orphans or were in very abusive situations. Some of the children were victims of child labor abuse at an early age. At first the women in the organization took the children into their homes to care for them as one of their own. But as Gogo tells it, when it came time for the women to take in the second child, their husbands wouldn’t allow it. So, they bought land and started an orphanage just outside the city limits of Hlatikulu, about an hour’s drive South of Manzini. Gogo also said that back then, it took the entire day to travel from Manzini to Hlatikulu.

The girl’s orphanage has 30 children. Most are girls, but they also take in boys as young as two and keep them at the girls’ orphanage (“because girls like to mother the little ones”) until they are 6 years old and then they are moved to the boy’s orphanage in Manzini. It is a lovely, home environment, very warm, neat and clean. The girls also raise chickens for the eggs and have a small vegetable garden. The children are sent to primary and then secondary school. The girls were most gracious, beautiful and were typical girls. One definitely knew you were at a home full of girls, although they were very quiet with small giggles any time you glanced their way.

After visiting the girls’ orphanage we drove to the boys’ orphanage outside of Manzini. It is more like a working farm and is quite the opposite of the girl’s home. It also houses 30 children; all boys. The boy’s home raises the Maize and majority of the vegetables for the girl’s home as well as their own. They also raise chickens (for eggs and eating) and pigs. It too is a wonderful home environment. The boys were much quieter than the girls; we didn’t get singing or near as many giggles and smiles, but ask one to open a gate and they ran like the wind!

After high school, most of the children go on to some sort of training. Some have gone on to be teachers or nurses, and one even went to a University in the UK. The orphanages are funded solely by donations. I saw a financial sheet for 2005, and the years operating costs were approximately E120,000 or approximately $17,145.

This is one more organization in Swaziland that is in need of prayers and support. It was started by a group of dedicated, caring Christian women who were in their 20’s. Now those women are passing on. I couldn’t help wonder what is going to happen to these children when the Gogos are gone. I hope there are other young, energetic, compassionate women ready to take their place, but I’m suspecting that the needs are now so great, that a small organization such as this may fall by the wayside. I pray that won’t happen because it has certainly made a difference in many children’s lives.


Richard Rooney said...

I think this is a very interesting blog. I also blog about Swaziland. Swazi Media Commentary contains information and commentary about media freedom and media ethics in Swaziland. Come visit me at

krosyrup said...
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