International Refugee Day 2017

By Babongile Mlambo

Swaziland Council of Catholic Women: “Sowers of hope”

The 20th of June is the International Day of Refugees, a day that recognizes and remembers all refugees and asylum seekers worldwide.

The Catholic Church in Swaziland honors this day to remember the brothers and sisters who have been displaced from their homes as a result of various unfavorable circumstances.

Swaziland Council of Catholic Women (SCCW) is a women’s organization within the Diocese of Manzini, which is common ground for all females in the church, whose objective is to empower all females in the church in all aspects, including upholding human dignity, development and rights as handed down by the mother body of all Catholic Women’s Organizations globally (WUCWO).

SCCW has adopted as one of its local resolutions, the practical way of Sowing Hope as well as Showing Love and Mercy to the world; as a response to the call by the World Union of Catholic Women Organizations (WUCWO) and the Holy Father’s wish to embrace and care for refugees and the needy in our communities.

Starting from June 2016, SCCW included the “International Day of Refugees” in the Year Plan.

On the 24th of June 2017, SCCW in the Diocese of Manzini, together with a few Priests and Caritas Swaziland, led the other Catholics to Malindza Refugee Camp, where they also joined delegations from the Ministry of Home Affairs, led by HRH Princess Thandzile Dlamini, UNHCR staff, and the Commission of Refugees in the country.

Holy Mass was celebrated by the Vicar of the Diocese, Fr J Mahazule who was standing in for His Lordship-Bishop Jose Luis Ponce de Leon IMC, and co-celebrating was Fr V T Mabuza and Fr Motsa OSM.

The program of the day was steered by the Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Anthony Masilela, in the presence of the Malindza community and the above mentioned.

Entertainment was also the order of the day with Lutsango lwakaNgwane showing off their cultural dancing skills, an Artist/Guitarist from among the camp residents, a Poet and children performers also from among the camp residents giving us what they had prepared.

The +/- 72 families at the camp were given food parcels and clothing among other basic commodities after the day’s formal activities, and thereafter shared light moments with their visitors before rounding up.

As SCCW, we promise to stand with the refugees and asylum seekers; sowing hope, proclaiming love and mercy in the diocese for the love and respect of human dignity and rights:

To all those who visited the camp, and those who could not make it but sent their donations, good wishes and prayers, you gave hope and put a smile to the needy, God bless you.