We want to share some recent photos of some of our older children and send everyone Christmas blessings.
Recently we had two children graduate high school, and we had about 8 who finished their 3rd year of high school, which is a terminal point in the education system in Swaziland. Several of those children are those which we have sent away to board at schools for talented and gifted children. We brought them back to Cabrini to stay with us during the last 6 weeks, to provide them a small apprenticeship opportunity to build practical skills that might be useful in their lives as they grow into young adults.
The experience was a great success. The children that go to outside schools were able to feel part of the Cabrini family again. We go and visit them and support them but during school breaks they visit their extended family like the other children, so it was a nice chance to strengthen our relationship, letting them know that they belong to us and we belong to them, and that they always have a home at Cabrini.
The experience also gave these young people a very nice sense of working relationships with adults. The managers in all our departments- maintenance, agriculture, health care departments- were very much willing to take these kids on, even though they knew nothing, which can be more burdensome than helpful. But all of the managers were kind to the children and said, ‘Yes, I’ll teach them.’ The one-on-one supervision and direction, and a sense of belonging, made the kids feel good about themselves.
Colani has lost both parents. At Cabrini he attended our Bridge School- which is for kids that are too old for their grade to accelerate them through a few grades at a time. He just finished grade 7 and he’ll be moving into high school. Here Colani is working on a new part of the hostel that we are expanding into, learning to set bathroom tile.
Vusi lost his father at age 13. He went to live with his mother and her second husband, but the husband was abusive. When Vusi stepped in to defend his mother the husband threw Vusi off the homestead. Cabrini supported Vusi to apprentice at a private carpentry factory. He’s been employed as a regular employee at Cabrini, but in January he’ll be going to a trade school for carpentry.
Celemusa has lost both parents, but he is our bright light. He attended our Bridge School as well, and did so well that he was able to attend Siteki Nazarene High School, which is considered one of the best schools in the whole country. We are so proud- he is number 1 in his class. We’re expecting him to do very well nationally and have opportunities open for him. Here he is learning to put in a ceiling.
Fanana lost both parents, and was also a Bridge School student. Several of the Bridge School students ended up going to Siteki Nazarene which is real triumph, including Fanana. He’s been doing well.
Ronnie goes to St Philip’s High School. He is an average student but a very good boy. Here he’s learning to lay tile.
Aretha, Sikholiwe and Dumile helped in the hostel, cooking mealy-meal for breakfast and cleaning up. They learned how to cook for large groups and about good nutrition.
Ever since we have known Thobile, she has wanted to be a nurse. So Thobile volunteered in the health department, which she loved.
She was able to take blood pressure, blood sugar, and check in the patients. She was a big help and was thrilled doing it. The staff there were really happy with her work. We’re hoping that her scores on her exams will be high enough for her to get in to nursing school.
A few children also worked in our agriculture department, doing overall planning, weeding, planting, and learning about cabbages and chili peppers which are our two big crops that are planted right now.
All of the children worked hard and they seemed to enjoy the tasks. They also got much more one-on-one attention with adults, and they really liked it and responded positively to it. We trusted them with something special that none of their peers were being trusted with, and they really did a great job. As co-parents we want them to feel responsible for Cabrini and what they have been able to do here, and the work helps connect them to that.
Finally we want to send special Christmas blessings to everyone. We do the work here but there must be 1000 people out there that keep us operating. We are aware of that and very very grateful. People who connect us with funding, or share the good news, or work on our part to donate services, or donate $10- whatever it is- it’s all that together that make Cabrini Ministries function. The fact that these kids are growing and thriving is part of the thanks that we give. To the hidden people out there that are part of our Cabrini Ministries family we wish a very Merry Christmas!
Srs. Barbara and Diane