New Video of OVC Hostel Children

Technical challenges notwithstanding (!), we are happy to be able to share a bit more video with our international community out there.

Click on the square below to view some recent video of the OVC (Orphans & Vulnerable Children) kids playing at the hostel and hear the voice-over of a staff member.

From the video:
“So these children are the OVC children, in Cabrini Ministries’ OVC hostel.

“These are some of the few children who have been able to find mercy through the help of Mother Cabrini and all those that are part of [the works].

“Almost all of these children are orphans- they’ve got no parents. And, most of the parents, they die out of HIV and AIDS, including tuberculosis.

“When the Sisters came here, they had to go around the homesteads and they were able to fund some of the children to come down here. It’s not all of the children, but they do not have enough funds to care for all of the OVCs in the areas here. There are hundreds and hundreds of OVCs here, but they don’t have enough funds for them all. So these are the few who are fortunate enough to be in the hostel. There are about 100 and some kids.

“So we are thankful for these works and the works of everyone who has a concern for these children in the international community for supporting them materially, and even spiritually, and giving them hope… that it doesn’t mean that- if you don’t have parents, life is useless for you, but there is still life and hope after the death of your parents.”

Sr. Barbara & Sr. Diane

School Break Time at Cabrini Ministries in Swaziland

It’s quiet here at St. Philip’s Mission as all the children are presently on their homesteads for the school break time. They were in school until the last week of August. The school-year here is a year long, and the children have 3 breaks in the year: two three-week breaks and one six-week break.

We are very concerned about maintaining a connection between the children and their homesteads and remaining family members, and homestead visits reinforce those connections. We work with heads of households within local chiefdoms, gaining social acceptance for the Ministries as a “co-parent,” caring for children with the permission of each orphan’s extended family. Also, in order for a male child to keep his legal rights as a member of a tribal group, he needs to return to his homeland and extended family several times a year, and we help arrange those visits.

These girls are looking at their report cards.

When the kids go home, they take their clothes, they usually take food parcels (assessed on a family by family need, but probably 3/4s of our families need food, especially in the face of the current drought), if they need to take bedding, or medications, they do, but whatever they need we try to help them so that they are not a burden on their caretakers, and it reduces their risk of vulnerability. We help them pack up and drive them home. Once a week or so during breaks they come back to the Mission and check in and get supplementary food to take home to their families.

The staff also visits some of the children’s homesteads to check in – sometimes five or six times to each homestead of the most vulnerable who live in shebeens (huts that brew and serve beer), or without adults, or who are in need of food.

While the children are away, the staff sometimes use the time to clean or make repairs around the hostel. The hostel staff all took one week off when the children left in late August. Our staff often work long 14 hour days, as there is always work to do, so they really deserve some time off! This week two staff teams will again begin home visits of the most vulnerable children.

When the children return, all are given an examination to make sure they have returned healthy and safe. Thanks to the Vitamin Angels organization (, we have a year’s supply of deworming medication, which we give to the children when they return from school breaks.

Blessings & thanks,
Srs. Barbara & Diane