An ambitious project

By: Bp José Luis IMC (Bishop of Manzini)

The Diocese of Manzini has been pretty creative regarding our presence in social media. 

Our webpage has been around for many years. Our Facebook Page is one of the best ways for us to share news reaching many in our diocese.

Before COVID19 reached our country, a diocesan whatsapp group was “providentially” created as a way to reach people all over the diocese with news.

When the pandemic brought the first lock-down, we prepared daily podcasts on the gospel of the day. The whatsapp group developed tremendously reaching over 1200 people.

Continue reading “An ambitious project”

COVID19: our appeals

“ COVID19 Campaign ”

Responding to the challenges being brought to us by the pandemic, our Diocese has identified five priorities among the many needs. If you would like to support any of them or simply send a donation, here are our banking details to the dedicated account for this campaign:

Bank: Nedbank
Branch name / number: Manzini / 360264
Account name: Catholic Church Caritas Eswatini
Account number: 11990130444

If you would like to support specifically one of the projects, please indicate the number of the appeal when making your donation: Continue reading “COVID19: our appeals”

SJBH’s inclusive Garden Project

by Nozizwe Ginindza

In line with our objective to run fully inclusive and accessible activities for all children, SJBH runs a small veggie garden that is designed for participation by both able bodied children and those that are differently abled. Focus this year 2018 was put into increased and improved participation for children in wheelchairs, by designing a way for them to participate without having to go through the discomfort and potentially harmful effort of dismounting from their wheelchairs. This meant that we had to find a way to raise the garden to a level that allows the children to plant, water and care for the plants on a garden bed that is the height of their wheelchairs. Continue reading “SJBH’s inclusive Garden Project”

“Coming to the help of orphans and widows in their hardships” (James 1:27)

By Bishop José Luis IMC

As soon as the Christmas and new year’s holidays are over and people are back at work at “Caritas Swaziland” and the offices of the “Diocese of Manzini”, long queues are also seen outside our premises. The reason is always the same: they are looking for help to pay the school fees.

At the beginning of the year there is a day when myself, as the bishop of the diocese, welcome those asking for help. For the last three years, I do this in partnership with Caritas Swaziland. People have to come twice. The first time they are interviewed by the Caritas Swaziland team. The second time, only those to whom help has been granted, come again to collect it.

While this happens every year, what keeps on changing is the number of requests. While around 200 people came in January 2015, 600 came in 2016. Three times’ more!

Still, nothing prepared us for the more than one thousand that came this year. The total amount requested was E 1.400.000 (more than US$ 100.000 !!!).

Unfortunately our resources are limited and only 360 were selected by the Caritas Swaziland team to receive some help. We are never able to pay the full amount of their fees but we want to make sure these families are able to send their children to school at the beginning of the year.

I was able to allocate three days to welcome each one of them. Had I known the number I would have allocated the whole week…

For me it is always an opportunity to listen to their situation…

  • most of them are orphans of one or both parents
  • the parent or the relative who provided for them
    •  died
    • is now unemployed
    • is sick and lost his / her job
  • one of the parents or both are handicapped
  • many children and unable to provide for all of them
  • they live on the selling of vegetables which does not provide enough for school fees
  • last year’s drought affected them badly
  • they are supported by the grant the government gives the elderly which is about US$20 per month and is given every three months…

In some cases the request is presented by “caregivers”, people who feel compassion and look after these orphans in every possible way: their health, food and education.

In some others by their neighbors who feels for the family when they see both parents are unemployed and the family is struggling seriously.

Two situations touched me in a particular way:

  • the cases of fathers who left the family and never went back…
  • the orphans who try to work here and there to pay for their own school fees

Though the amount we helped them with was much smaller than last year because of the number of requests, they were all very grateful as in many cases they really did not have anything at all and children would have had to stay at home.
We are always grateful to all those who make this help possible. Part of the money is collected in our diocese but another part comes from friends and organizations who want to be part of this project towards our teenage brothers and sisters.

“Pure, unspoilt religion, in the eyes of God our Father, is this:
coming to the help of orphans and widows in their hardships,
and keeping oneself uncontaminated by the world.”
(James 1: 27)

Hope House – Indlu Yelitsemba

1Hope House is a residential faith based hospice center and is part of Caritas Swaziland’s suite of HIV and AIDS support programmes. It was officially opened in 2001. HIV AIDS clients & all terminally ill people, regardless of their religious affiliation, nationality, or age are able to utilize the services of Hope House. Accommodation is provided in individual furnished units.

It is centrally located in Manzini, which is virtually in the middle of Swaziland, making it accessible to clients from all four regions of the country. It is the only known center of its kind in Swaziland and Caritas Swaziland is the only known organization within the country that provides the full range of HIV and AIDS interventions from prevention and impact mitigation through palliative care.

The vision of Hope House is to offer the nation a sanctuary and peace of mind in their hour of need by striving to alleviate the pain and suffering of those living with a terminal illness, and assisting them to lead comfortable and productive lives to the fullest extent possible.

The year 2014 was a successful year for us. We are very thankful to Tinkers, Manzini meat Market, RekhaParamount tailors, Mr. ThwalaManene, John Creamer, Mr. MdzinisoMilton ,SWD Roof Masters , Mrs. Jenny Armitage,AlfredMdzebele, Patraciagininza, Mariayna Pullen, The Seventh day Adventist, the Angilican church Women’s group, Catholic Cathedral Church Manzini&MoseKumalo, SWD Airlines , MTN, SPTC, SWDEC, Water cooperation, banks, Schools ,Churches, sodalities, many other individuals etc.. that are the regular donors of Hope House , their contribution makes a big difference in the day to day running of Hope House. 2014 was indeed a great year of blessing for Hope House, through hard work and dedication Hope House was able to attain the Government Subvention. We thank the good God for this great blessing, we are ever thankful to Dr. Simon Zwane and his team for making this possible.

We hope you will agree with us that we cannot live in the past but in the present. We hope for the future. Our source of hope is the trust we have in you as an individual or group. We believe that with your support and donation, 2015 will also be a great year for us and our loved ones, the termainally ill. Donations in kind can be sent directly to Hope House or to Caritas Swaziland. Remember every cent counts!

Thank You.

Sr. Elsa Joseph
Hope House

“World Refugee Day” at Malindza

World Refugee Day is celebrated Malindzaon June 20 every year. The Malindza Camp does it on the nearest Saturday. This year was no exception and with the present of national (the minister of Home Affairs, Her Royal Highness Princess Tsandzile), members of Parliament, local authorities (Chief Ndlondlo) and representatives of UNICEF and UNHCR we all gathered at midday at Malindza.
The program lasted a couple of hours and the refugees gave us a taste not only of their music and dances but also of their local food (at the end).
I was present as president of Caritas Swaziland who is implementing partner of the UNHCR. In the midst of the tragedy of a situation that has affected more than 50 million people in the world in invited everyone to celebrate “the courage, determination and faith of the millions of refugees worldwide who have been forced to take the difficult decision of abandoning their land and families in search of a better tomorrow in a foreign and sometimes hostile land.” together with “the spirit of the Swazi people who open their hearts and welcome them.”
Then, in the name of Caritas Swaziland, I renewed our commitment to continue with this service: 
“I wish to conclude Honorable Minister, by pledging the commitment of the Roman Catholic Church through its social development arm, Caritas Swaziland, whose President I am, that we shall continually strive to ensure that refugees and asylum-seekers gain access to quality education, health-care and indeed are assisted to generate income aimed at improving their lives such that a certain measure of their dignity is restored to them.”
The Minister of Home Affairs invited us all to celebrate and appreciate the lives of those who have been displaced, to reflect on the progress made in this area and the challenges still present together with a commitment to find lasting and durable solutions. She also underlined an element we might miss: “refugees bring their experience and hope… they enrich our country”.
One thing that remained clear in my heart is that the service done by Caritas Swaziland at Malindza is done silently like many other services done by the church in the country.

Food distribution project

stperegrineLast week we welcomed Chiara Giovetti who came from Rome to visit our Diocese. Chiara works at the project office of the Consolata Missionaries and was instrumental in helping our diocese receive support for a couple of projects.
One of them allows us to provide food to about 750 children (100 of which are under 18 months’ old) in three parishes: Good Shepherd (Siteki), St Peregrine’s (Bulandzeni) and Holy Rosary (Mankanyane).
We were able to visit two of these centres during her stay in the country.
I had heard about the importance of the project and the clear situation of need of so many people but I had never been there. It is really so.
During our stay at Good Shepherd (Siteki) someone stood up to thank the Catholic Church for the project and added two more things:
  • the first one is the hope that the project will continue in the future (and this will depend on receiving more funds as the diocesan resources are very limited;
  • the second one, which touched me most, was: “there are many other children in the community who do not have enough to eat”.
This second one touched me becaSt Peregrine'suse of their sense of being one family where everyone counts. They are grateful for what they receive and hope it will continue but they cannot close their eyes to the need of others.
It also touched me because aware of what was in front of me and her words, one cannot but wonder how comes that so many children, so many people do not have enough to eat in this beautiful country.
For us, as a church, it is not enough to give food to those that are hungry. We need to understand why it is happening and work with others to make sure we all live with the dignity of a child of God.
Thinking of this I came across the following text from the “Compedium of the Social Doctrine of the Church”:

“5. Love faces a vast field of work and the Church is eager to make her contribution with her social doctrine, which concerns the whole person and is addressed to all people. So many needy brothers and sisters are waiting for help, so many who are oppressed are waiting for justice, so many who are unemployed are waiting for a job, so many peoples are waiting for respect. How can it be that even today there are still people dying of hunger? Condemned to illiteracy? Lacking the most basic medical care? Without a roof over their head? The scenario of poverty can extend indefinitely…”