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Ekwetsembeni Special School Article

 Ekwetsembeni Special School


Ekwetsembeni Special School is a school located at Mbabane in the Hhohho region, it is for children with intellectual disabilities. It was established by two American Peace Corps Volunteers in 1974, through an initiative from the society for the handicapped It started operating at Thokoza Centre and later moved into the present premises. It was rehabilitated in the 1990 by the African Development Bank after discovering that the school was dangerous for human habitation. It was then formerly handed over by the society for the handicapped to Swaziland Government who has up to now been responsible for the schools up keep.

These school fills important gaps in Swaziland`s school system more especially because they are not trained in grades but rather in groups of similar disabilities. In a later stage the children are then graded based on their response performance on skills trained to say a particular child deserve to be mainly trained on a specific skill. The children are trained on life skills which include sewing, salon, art, agriculture and academia. Teachers of Ekwetsembeni are professionally qualified teachers and full of passion.

Compassionate Swaziland is currently implementing a 1 year project with Ekwetsembeni special school in partnership with Global Fund for Children (GFC). The project started May 2017 and will run until May 2018.

The project objectives are:

*  To enhance life skills

*  Targeting girls with disabilities but not living out the boys

*  Teach girls on Sexual Reproductive Health Education

*  Provision of dignity packs(Sanitary towels, Vaseline and soap)

*  Conduct trainings for parents and teachers on regards to disability


The Salon





Above is a demonstration of some of the tools used in the salon department together with the focal teacher for the salon skills training “Mrs Mamba” Mrs Mamba is a degree holder and a qualified teacher by profession, She is also skilled in beauty therapy but above all she has a passion. During an interview with her she said that her passion to work with children was mainly driven by the disability background from her family that is why today she is at Ekwetsembeni Special School. Next to her picture above, is a chart which she uses to demonstrate some of the equipment used during hair dressing. She said that the children are then examined based on what they have learned.

Innovation from the Teacher


Above is an art the salon teacher (Mrs Mamba) came up with, She uses it to teach the children how to plait hair and tested on a later stage if they can braid someone hair. This innovation was driven out by the less resources to buy the correct models required for the training. Mrs Mamba said from here they would then design weave hat which the teacher said they sell then buy more working materials again. She also mentioned that on past event she would visit the salons in town and ask for the remains from their customers who came to do their hair and wash it to re-use again during the training of the children. Recently Compassionate Swaziland has provided Ekwetsembeni with the proper models (Dummies) to assist during the braiding trainings by Mrs Mamba.


Manicure equipment’s and braiding items


This are the some of the items Compassionate Swaziland bought for the children to practise what they do best. We have a manicure kit above which they will be using while being trained on how to do nails. They include but not limited to; lotion warmer machines, full nails, tips, nail cutter, nail filer, nail jelly, Cutex, etc. From the items Compassionate Swaziland with Global Fund for Children support of course also bought for the School braiding items like; weaves, extensions in different brands as per Mrs Mamba `s advise The Children of Ekwetsembeni Special School are talented, they need support and it doesn’t take one but the World to help nature this talent. We have done it you can do it too.

Sewing Machines for Ekwetsembeni



The joyful woman putting in place the machines above is Mrs Sukati. She is the home economics teacher of Ekwetsembeni special school, she is pictured embracing the sewing machines which she says she is so very grateful to have and emphasised how the machines were going to ease work when she teach the student. She also mentioned that previously they were using the old manual machines which were not enough to accommodate all the children to use and was very slow to the extent that the children would have to wait for the other to finish before they can get a chance to utilise the machine. Today since Compassionate Swaziland has bought 2 electronical singer machines and 1 over locker. Mrs Sukati continued to say that the new machines are fast as a result the children will be able to take turns quicker during their trainings and will sure speed up the whole process of the training.

The pupils gathered for pictures with Compassionate Director

(Make Siphiwe Mabuyakhulu)



Boys and girls group photo                                       





All smiles for the Camera


After School time at Ekwetsembeni

Day of the African Child

The Program Directorsjuly Compassionate Swaziland was there, to partake in the Commemoration of the Day of the African Child which was held at Eqinisweni primary school near Nhlangano in the Shiselweni Region. It was a very beautiful day, the 15th of June 2017. The event was graced with the presence of honourable Deputy Prime Minister (Paul Dlamini), Regional Administrator Shiselweni (Themba Masuku), Chiefs, members of the community, teachers, parents, NGOs, etc. The event was in the hands of children. From the Program Directors to participants; indeed it was a day of the African child, Empowered people, ambitious people, our pride and joy, our tomorrow leaders!   july2 This 2 young people are students of Eqinisweni Primary School, she is doing grand six and he is doing grand seven. Intelligent and smart student; we are proud, their parents and teachers, must be even thrilled seeing them as vibrant as they were.   Models for the Day This young girls were all over the place, making it loud and heard of their opinions and emphasis of how they expect to be treated as children. The boards read as below: I DESERVE TO GO TO SCHOOL I DESERVE LOVE AND PROTECTION I DESERVE TO GO TO SCHOOL I DESERVE EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES I DESERVE TO HAVE HEALTH CARE   Participant for the Day july3 july4  

The pupils showing off hands with the writing ; END VIOLENCE

july5     Communications officer (Senelisiwe Shabangu, supported by HIV Prevention Officer (Mr Mlondi Mkhatshwa) and Monitoring and Evaluation Officer (Nontsikelelo Simelane) were representing the organisation in the information desk. They then during the stall visit by the DPM and his delegation presented a t-shirt and broacher to him. Ms Shabangu presents the t-shirt to DPM (Paul Dlamini) while officers look on, a firm hand shake from HIV prevention officer to the DPM followed.   july7 july6     The same with the Regional Administrator ,as an organisation serving also in the Shiselweni region Mtsambama Inkhundla we had to appreciate him too. Mr Mkhatshwa handed over the t-shirts while Ms Nontsikelelo and Senelisiwe looks on. july8   Visitors on Compassionate stalls july11 july12   The members of the community did not miss the event, they came to celebrate the day with their sons and daughters.   july10 july9     Veli Pleading veli Teachers we want to be totally safe in your hands, even when we fail do not call us names but rather empower us with life skills.We are tired of the killing and the slaughtering of children in the hands of those we trust.Please don`t call us names and say things like”awusiniki lesingaboni” because it`s discrimination to us. Parent do not be ashamed of disable children since we are all gift from God and please please stop killing albinos they will not make you rich. Please leave us alone. Below is Veli pleading during the day of the African child at Eqinisweni Primary School. Stop Violence against children Lets all take a stand for our Children We are the youth moving forward!!!!

Official Presentation of Traditional support items at Mtsambam

at Mtsambama Official Presentation of Traditional support items at Mtsambama In Mtsambama Inkhundla under Indvuna babe Simelane 350 adolescents benefited from the Project hence received school shoes, socks, stationery and uniforms Siphiwe Mabuyakhulu the Director of Compassionate Swaziland said, she was very humble to be a part of the presentation, she continued by appreciating babe Simelane (Indvuna) for accepting Compassionate with warm hands and exceeding expectations by being an intermediary between the community, officers and Compassionate Management She continued by sending words of motivation to the home visitors and appreciated them for their hard work in community level lastly sent her most love to the adolescent who are the hearts of the organisation conceal Some of the beneficiaries out of the 350 at Mtsambama2   Indvuna yenkhundla babe Simelane thanked the opportunity to share what was in his heart. Simelane  said out of all the services offered by compassionate in the Inkhundla he  love most the educational support because it a very vital right for children which later in the life of the child becomes a benefit. He continued by emphasising to the adolescents to focus and put more effort with their school work since it is a place where they get equipped with skills to enable independency and economic stability. He also thanked Compassionate Swaziland for again doing a great job by sponsoring Mpompotha High school which is under their Inkhundla with school asset that was worth E174000 all this to support the adolescents`s educational right. They just couldn’t wait to put them on at Mtsambama3   Adolescent accompanied by her home visitor receives her pair of shoes from babe Indvuna & Director of Compassionate Swaziland while members of Bucopho beNkhundla watches

Testimony from Principal Lasi high School



Region: Mtsambama Inkhundla

Mr Hlatshwako was very happy to finally meet Compassionate Swaziland Management and Inkhundla council of Mtsambama, whom he says if it was not for them they could not  been  here today, they could not have what they have today. He said in his own words “I am proud to say almost half of the school asset are from Compassionate and I dearly appreciate the support”. He continued to thank the organisation for it Volunteers (home visitors) whom dedicate their lives and time on following up on the girl children sponsored in the school(Mpompotha High)just making sure they have everything they need and visit them often to make sure they are taken care of.

abingo and kids


 Hlatshwako says that the asset has helped ease work on the shoulders of teachers, the computers, textbooks, multisocket and many other help the English department during exams. He says now every department work much easier. Microphones empty CDs and multi socket played a very vital role during oral examinations.



Name: Mr Msibi Place: Ngwempisi Inkhundla Indvuna Mr Msibi after the good work Compassionate Swaziland has done at Ngwempisi Inkhundla, Ngcoseni high school to be specific where the organisation sponsors 20 girl child, fees and purchase of telephone lines, PA system, Photocopier machine, Computers, etc. He first thanked Compassionate for the hard work in the whole Inkhundla at large. Msibi then asked Ngcoseni principal Mr Dlamini to monitor the bought commodities, proper kept so that it last longer and future generation to see and use as well. He further sent his great appreciations on behalf of the parents especially on the fees paid for needy children. Lastly the Indvuna (Mr Msibi) congratulated the organisation for the job and trusted that they will continue helping the constituency.

Name: Mr Dlamini

Place: Ngcoseni high School Principal

Mr Dlamini was left shocked by Compassionates kindness towards them and was short of words but these is a few he had to say pertaining the commodities. The was a lot to say but to specify a few, Dlamini mentioned the P.A system which he valued as the most important commodity and said that it came as a life saver since they have over a thousand students and you will find that during assembly and meetings not everyone get to hear what is being addressed at a far distance. He said it is also used during parents meetings. The computers were said to be useful for the English department especially during times of examinations. They use it to facilitate oral part of the exam. Lastly he took the opportunity to thank the Home visitors (CSD`S volunteers) whom are often seen visiting and talking to the students and checking on them at home. He did not forget to congradulate the Director Siphiwe Mabuyakhulu whom he saw on the times of Swaziland that she had hosted the country`s flag high and won a Katherine award while studying in Canada.


Name: Mr Maziya

Place: Mpolonjeni Inkhundla Indvuna

Mr Maziya`s words “we are very proud to have compassionate in our Inkhundla, because where they touch it does not remain the same. Compassionate Swaziland got us in a very bad situation of drought and a situation where parents could not do most of the things for themselves and Compassionate came as an answer”. He further stated that even today he is happy to say Mpolonjeni is in a better state because CSD part taked too. Maziya continued with words of motivation to people whom Compassionate come to offer their services to, that they should prepare themselves and be ready to work together hand in hand. He thinks and sure that they will succeed in whatever they will be doing.

Maziya now directed to the principal of Lasi high school that he should try by all mean to take care of the commodities bought, both in the science labs and home economics department and of course follow up on the girls sponsored by Compassionate Swaziland.

Name: Mr Hlophe

Place: Principal Lasi High School

Mr Hlophe says he is grateful to Compassionate Swaziland and the donors who have helped them as Lasi high. He says that equipment purchased for them has made a huge difference in the school, he says that some of the commodities are already being used by the students. It is from the depth of his heart that that Compassionate can continue to help them as a school even in the future. He stated that the Lubombo region is known for the challenges especially in respect to resources, even parents struggle to cater their children needs even to provide food on the table so CSD has really done very well in helping on those cases. Lastly Hlophe asked the good lord to bless Compassionate Swaziland as a whole and specifically directed to the Officers that God shall bless and multiply the works of their hands

Swaziland participant received Katherine Fleming award


 October 1, 2016 - Antigonish, Nova Scotia – Coady International Institute

For the first time in its 17-year history, the Katherine Fleming International Development Award was be presented to a Coady participant from Swaziland.

Dr. June Webber, Coady director and StFX vice-president, has announced that Mabuyakhulu Abingo Siphiwe Phumla  receive the award during StFX's homecoming weekend (9:30am, Saturday, Oct. 1 in Dennis Hall). The award and endowment fund were established by the family, friends and classmates of Katie Fleming, StFX alumna ’85, who dedicated her life to fighting poverty in Africa. It is awarded each year to a woman from Africa taking part in the Diploma in Development Leadership.

 Ms. Mabuyakhulu is founder and director of Compassionate Swaziland, a charity that works with schools and community groups to provide comprehensive care and support to HIV/AIDS-affected children and young people. This includes providing sexual and reproductive health rights education and preventing gender-based violence, which is a regular cause of new HIV infections and a barrier to finding support. 


“Siphiwe is an inspired Swaziland leader with a vision for equity, inclusion and voice for the women and girls of her sub-Saharan country. Siphiwe acknowledges the importance of her role as a woman leader to build tomorrow’s leadership who will have the confidence and skill to create strong, resilient communities.”  – Dr. June Webber, Coady Institute director and StFX vice-president

“It is an honour for me to accept this award, especially on behalf of the women and children I work with. 

I feel that the work I have been doing with them has given me the opportunity to speak to the world about the social and economic challenges they face every day.” – Siphiwe Mabuyakhulu

Quick facts

  • Ms. Mabuyakhulu is one of 41 participants from 18 countries attending the 2016 Diploma in Development Leadership program in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.
  • Previous award recipients have come from Zambia (4), Kenya (3), Nigeria (2), Tanzania (2), Ghana (2), Zimbabwe (1), Botswana (1), and South Africa (1). 
  • Compassionate Swaziland won a 2015 Global Rising Stars award for its work improving the lives of vulnerable children in two regions of the country.
  • Since 1959, StFX’s Coady Institute has delivered education programs to provide community builders with the knowledge and skills to create the change they want for themselves.

Associated links


Swazi charity wins international award

A Swazi charity has won an international award for local organisations working to improve the lives of vulnerable children.  Compassionate Swaziland, which works in the Lubombo and Shiselweni regions of Swaziland, is one of five Global Rising Stars – jointly awarded by The Global Fund for Children and Stars Foundation. About the award The Global Rising Stars Awards (GRS) is committed to helping small, effective grassroots organisations become stronger, more sustainable and more able to deliver vital services on the ground. “We believe the best way to improve the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children is through grassroots organisations,” said Global Fund for Children CEO Susan Goodell. “They work on the local level, reaching children who would otherwise fall through the cracks—orphans, trafficked children, child labourers—and providing them with the care and support they need.” The prize package includes US$20,000 in flexible funding and an additional US$10,000 in tailored consultancy and capacity building support. “Flexible funding is crucial in developing and empowering these high-potential grassroots organisations. It allows them to adapt to unforeseen circumstances and invest their funds where they most need in order to sustain or scale their work at a critical time in their growth trajectory” said Muna Wehbe, CEO of Stars Foundation. About Stars Foundation Stars Foundation recognises and rewards outstanding local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working to improve the wellbeing and life chances of children in the countries with the highest rates of under-five mortality. About The Global Fund for Children The Global Fund for Children finds and invests in innovative grassroots organizations serving the world’s most vulnerable children—including street children, trafficked children, refugees, and AIDS orphans—in more than 55 countries. GFC supports these organizations with financial resources, management training, capacity-building expertise, and technical assistance to help them achieve their vision, become sustainable, and reach even more children in need. To date, GFC has awarded over $34 million in grants to more than 600 grassroots organizations in 78 countries, serving more than 9 million children. About Compassionate Swaziland Compassionate Swaziland works with schools and community groups to provide comprehensive care and support to HIV/AIDS-affected children and young people. This includes providing sexual and reproductive health rights education and preventing gender-based violence, regarded as a regular cause of new HIV infections and a barrier to accessing services and support. In Swaziland, one in four adults are living with HIV. The country has the highest HIV prevalence in the world at 27 percent. [1] Children from the age of 8 from poor households experience challenges in accessing basic needs while adolescents of 13-17 lack youth friendly services from the healthcare system in Swaziland as they are not applicable for paediatric or adult systems of care, since the services in place to detect, treat and prevent HIV/AIDS infection do not exist for those outside these age parameters. Compassionate Swaziland’s services include psychosocial support, youth empowerment activities, enterprise and livelihood programs, and access to medical care. Director Siphiwe Mabuyakhulu said: “This grant will help us continue to make the lives of the children we serve better. Our organization is very proud of this award and the support from Stars and GFC, this will contribute to make our organization stronger, better and be able to assist more children.” For further information please contact: Emma Tallamy:, +44870 344 9000, +44 7786078799 or Carol Cassidy:, +1 202.222.0819 [1]


Advocacy on children’s right and protection against abuse. Adolescents are screened for depression, sexual and gender based violence (GBV) during routine field visits and referrals for services to recommended institutions are made. Care giver, teachers and community leaders are sensitized on the effect of GBV and how they can be engaged in the fight against GBV. They are trained on human rights, Child Protection and Welfare Act of 2012. ONE WEEK OVC IMPACT MITIGATION TRAINING REPORT On 29th May 2016 to 2nd June 2016 there was a training for OVC impact mitigation Field Officers and Home Visitors from Mtsambama, Mpolonjeni and Ngwempisi Tinkhundla under the Umliba Loya Embili Project. The training was to equip the OVC Field Officers and Home Visitors especially, those from Ngwempisi Inkhundla who have just started implementing the project; enrolment assessment exercise has taken place and the next step is to implement the project based on the results found from the enrolment exercise. The Home Visitors were awarded certificates after the even. Participants taking a group photo after the training; holding their certificates


After school adolescent girls club and community based adolescents club. Adolescent girls between the age of 10 to 19 in school, 15 t0 19 out of school are facilitated to form clubs and go through Stepping Stone Curriculum. The adolescents take lessons on HTC, SRH, access and use of contraceptives, condom usage, delaying sexual debut, menstrual cycle management, HIV prevention career choices, assertiveness, decision making, leadership, rights of women and girls and advocacy against GBV. Community based adolescent girls club in Mpolonjeni during one of their sessions After school adolescent girls club session in Mpolonjeni High School


Umliba Loya Embili project supports OVC adolescents by providing educational support; school fees, school uniforms and stationery depending on the need of the child. Those who were forced out of school due to certain reasons are re-enrolled back to school. Out of school adolescents and young women between 20 – 24 are supported to join vocational skills training colleges to boost their employment opportunities and self-employment through ownership of small businesses. PSYCHOSOCIAL SUPPORT Adolescents are facilitated to form support groups; Teen clubs for ALHIV, teen camps through which they get a supportive environment where they share experiences from their peers and receive psychosocial support. They share experiences in negotiating safe sex, menstruation challenges, relationships, sex and sexuality, status disclosure and ART adherence. Home visits and care plan development are done by Home Visitors to each and every adolescent’s household to assess the individual adolescent needs; HIV prevention, counselling, treatment literacy and ART adherence, sexual and reproductive health rights, child rights and child protection, referral system for medical assistance.

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