Swaziland: WFP Helps Remarkable Woman Care For Orphans

Published on 08 June 2009

Copyright: WFP/Richard Lee

Sisana Mavimbela is a remarkable woman. A 49-year-old mother of eight and a grandmother of five, Sisana somehow finds the time – and energy – to help care for another 46 children in her community. WFP helps her do it.

MBABANE -- Along with her four fellow caregivers, Sisana volunteers at the Mpompini Care Point, providing rudimentary lessons and vital psycho-social support to the growing number of orphaned and vulnerable children.

They also cook the children two meals a day – a nutritious bowl of porridge for breakfast and a full lunch of maize and beans supplied by WFP.

“Without this food, some of these children would be severely malnourished,” said Sisana, looking at the children waiting patiently for their morning meal. “Some might even have died due to hunger.”

Increasing hunger

As a nation, Swaziland is struggling to cope with worsening poverty, increasing food insecurity and the world’s highest HIV prevalence at around 26 percent – and soaring numbers of vulnerable children.

Down in the Lowveld region, the situation is even more acute due to a series of severe droughts and poor harvests, which have left tens of thousands of people – such as Sisana and her family – in need of food assistance.

WFP food assistance

“Due to the lack of rain, we often have no food at home,” said Sisana, who receives a monthly family ration of maize, beans and vegetable oil from WFP for volunteering at the care point. “My husband is a seasonal worker in the Simunye sugarcane fields but he is often out of a job so my family often depends on WFP food aid.”

While the food is an incentive for Sisana, it is not the main reason why she continues to lend a helping hand at the local care point.

“Although I receive food assistance for working here,” said Sisana, “it cannot compare to the satisfaction of bringing some hope to all the children who come here every day.”

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about the author

Richard Lee

WFP Spokesperson for southern Africa

Richard Lee is southern African spokesperson for WFP. He has worked for WFP for the past seven years in southern Africa, Sudan, Indonesia, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.