The Missionary Sisters have been serving at St. Philip’s Mission in the rural lowveld region of Swaziland, Southern Africa since 1971 at the request of King Sobhuza II and the Servite priests. Today, they continue to serve at the mission running the health care services and boarding hostels, as well as teaching in the school and providing skills training.
In recent years, efforts have been made by the MSCs to specifically respond to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Swaziland, expanding their services directly related to the pandemic which now include:
* Healthcare including home based care to HIV/AIDS patients,
* Care of orphans and vulnerable children,
* Provision of food and food supplements to the elderly and HIV patients,
* Education of the children in the homesteads.
Cabrini Hostel – The Cabrini Hostel was established as a direct response to the high rate of children orphaned by AIDS, who have been left without parents or with only one parent. The Hostel is designed to help all of its children stay connected to and rooted in the lives of their families and homesteads. Great emphasis is focused on nurturing the childrens’ Swazi identity.
Education – The educational program began over fifteen years ago when it was discovered that many children in the homesteads were not in school and the families could not afford to send them. Over the years, sponsors have helped support many of these children, but as the pandemic of AID/HIVS became increasingly pronounced, many more children needed support. With the assistance of the Solon Foundation, a Swiss foundation helping countries in Southern Africa with education, once the children are on the foundation grant, their education is guaranteed through 7th grade if they pass. Cabrini Ministries has been able to support 120 children and these children are now given a chance to grow as individuals, have better employment prospects in the future and become good citizens of Swaziland.
Home Based Care – Started in 2000 with a grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, the rural health initiative for HIV/AIDS education was established. The Home Based Care program focuses on caring for the sick and dying, testing for HIV; helping people begin treatment; transporting individuals to the hospital to receive treatment. At the present, Cabrini Home Based Care program serves over 200 people and is in operation 5-7 days a week.
Agriculture – The lowveld region is very dry and in the past 10 years has been experiencing a drought. In an effort to bring food to the sick, the elderly, and the orphaned children in the hostel, as well as the homesteads, Cabrini Ministries in 2005 established an agriculture project. This project provides water for drinking and food and helps to create a sustainable income for approximately 200 people in addition to serving the children housed at the hostel.