WHAT WE DO
In order to provide the best possible support, we focus on four key areas within our school and the community.
Food Security saves lives. Not only are we are making sure that the most vulnerable in the area are provided for through our school's feeding program, but planting maize fields and breeding pigs ensures a sustainable supply of food.
Mungo's Pre-School, was founded since there was no local provision for pre primary children in the area. We sponsored Nelsiwe Shongwe through her Early Years Certificate and she has been running the pre school with help from, another member of the local community, Mpumelelo. We are delighted to announce she too has just qualified as an Early Years teacher after sponsorship from AVSF and Nelsiwe has recently taken her Diploma exams to advance her knowledge and care for our children.This meant our rural children were at a great disadvantage, particularly in the English language, compared to children from less isolated towns, once they started primary school. The Betty Friend Home of Hope , built within Mungo's grounds is used to house our indoor kitchen and cook for the children, temporary emergency accommodation for vulnerable children and for overseas volunteers to stay in.
Your money helps to support our progress, buy additional fruit, vegetables, fish etc as well as helping to maintain the buildings themselves to keep the children safe.
To give children the best possible start in the modern world we are currently raising money to create a library and buy laptops for our pupils to keep them in tune with the world around them and to prepare them to succeed.
HIV AWARENESS AND PREVENTION
Unfortunately Swaziland has the highest rate of HIV in the world. There is a nationwide shortage of ARV drugs and, combined with poverty and poor hygiene this means far more fatalities than many other places. The increase in those affected has also led to an increase in the number of vulnerable children and child led households. This means that awareness and knowledge are essential for prevention which is why our football team Hamsey Rangers was formed to try to raise awareness through sport.
The feeding program began with the expectation that it would be an ongoing project, with the objective being to regularly produce food through our maize fields. The Shongwe family donated land for the first field, and a nearby river provided a large, free water source. It was hoped to also obtain further fields as our needs increased, and during Lynn’s visit in April 2010, a second maize field was donated by a member of the community. Our tractor, purchased in 2002, assisted in the ploughing and harvesting of our first crops in March 2009, and the following April. Other crops included lettuce, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, leeks, onions, carrots and beetroot, allowing for some nutritious options in the dietary needs of the children.
During Lynn's visit in May 2011, the harvest was so vast that a second maize crib was built in order to house the crop. The maize supplied the feeding programme for 12 months, and allowed for a sellable surplus.
Many of the children were arriving at school hungry, and returning home hungry as well, which did not allow for concentration and learning.
As a result, in March/April 2008, Rob and Lynn returned to Swaziland to introduce a feeding programme into daily school life. The children received a mid-morning meal of porridge, which not only improved their ability to concentrate, but their overall health and quality of life. They also employed Khanysile, a woman from the local community, to cook for the children; thereby aiding the local economy as well as that of her own family.
From January 2010, the Swaziland government took over the day to day running of the school and stepped in to provide the food required to run this programme, This also allowed Rob and Lynn to focus their food provision on the younger children and the maize and vegetables were available to commence the second programme at Mungo's. This huge achievement offered a number of benefits, and the programme continues to ensure that no child is without adequate nutrition.
Pig breeding programme
“Polly”, a brood sow, was also obtained to be used for breeding pigs for both selling, and consumption. This provides the children with a sustainable supply of fresh meat. Polly gave birth to her first six piglets at the end of February 2011, and three were sold for income, which was used to replant the maize fields. The remaining piglet was slaughtered in May during Lynn’s visit, providing 12 bags of pork, which will treat our children to a meat meal twice a month for the following six months—an amazing achievement. Polly, in addition to another female piglet, were bred to build on this foundation and 7 years later our pigs are still providing much needed protein for our children.
Thanks to the generous donation of £21,000 from Angus Lawson Memorial Trust, Lynn and Robert were able to return to Swaziland in April and December 2010 to commence this project. Mungo's Pre-School and toilet block were completed and The Betty Friend Home of Hope. The feeding programme is named after Busisiwe - a pupil at Angus Lawson's primary school who tragically starved to death aged only 11 years old.
The daily feeding programme continues to thrive, in order to prevent any more of our children suffering in the manner of Busisiwe. We were too late to save her, but her legacy will be great, as no child from the community will ever go without food again.