Meet Mzamo Sikhondze

Mzamo Sikhondze,
Cabrini Ministries
Director of Support Services and Human Resources Manager,

‘We need to understand the root cause of problems and to be tolerant to emotions; we do this by being patient and speaking the truth. That way we grow pure emotional intelligence’

‘We need to understand the root cause of problems and to be tolerant to emotions; we do this by being patient and speaking the truth. That way we grow pure emotional intelligence’

Mzamo Sikhondze was born and raised in the Ngcamphalala chiefdom; where he attended St Philips High School. His dream was always to be a teacher or a policeman, but due to the lack of motivation from his family he let go of his dreams. Dissatisfied with his family’s opinion, he moved to Manzini where he worked as a security guard. However, homesickness got the better of him and in 2006 he found himself working as full time tutor at Cabrini Ministries. This saw the beginning of his inspiring and ambitious journey of personal and professional development.

When he joined Cabrini, Mzamo also worked as a part-time dispenser for the clinic. He was good at his work and very keen towards doing more for the organization. So, he took up a few courses on community education and gender based issues. With that, he could visit homesteads and offer some sound advice on how families could improve their situations. Mzamo then took on a few computer training classes which made him competent enough to work in the office; he became a receptionist for Cabrini. ‘At the time, I acknowledged that I had to further develop myself’. And so, in 2011, with determination Mzamo went on to obtain a diploma in Human Resources Management from the Institute of Development Management in Manzini. ‘I love my job; it’s a challenge having to tell people at times that their employment is terminated’. Mzamo is currently completing a degree in Human Resources from the South Africa based Regant Business School- a testament of his desire to improve himself. At Cabrini Ministries, his strong work ethic ensures that Cabrini’s employees are kept happy, that their work is being done properly and he also ensures that Cabrini is complying with national laws.

During his spare time, Mzamo can be found gardening, playing pool, or socializing with friends. In his eyes, people are anyone’s greatest asset. This view perhaps is demonstrated no better than when Mzamo is at work. He lists his team as one of the greatest motivating factors for him coming to work every day. In addition to this, he knows that his role of looking after the welfare of Cabrini’s employees is ultimately connected to him looking after his community.

Cabrini’s latest service addition, the Family Services Department, serves as Mzamo’s inspiration for service delivery and leadership in the country of Swaziland. ‘Family Services address many injustices in the community and it does what is good for the people, it’s a great fit to the organization’ say Mzamo. His desire for Swaziland is that its leaders do the will of the people, not fulfill their own motives. Working at Cabrini has shifted his mindset and he is grateful for the amount of time Cabrini invests in its people. He hopes that Cabrini will continue to develop its workers and he hopes that one day Cabrini will be led by an African executive.

Meet Mrs. Sauda-Atikpo

B. E. Sauda-Atikpo
Cabrini Ministries
Director Family Services Department

Mrs. Sauda-Atikpo is a very charismatic and passionate member of the Family Services Department at Cabrini Ministries Swaziland. As an African-American, she has always felt the desire to connect with her ancestral heritage and to give back to Africa. Having graduated with a Masters of Science in Social Administration which also doubles as a Masters in Social Work, her passion for Africa led her to Ghana where she assisted social workers to work with Orphans and Vulnerable Children. After a brief visit to Cabrini Ministries in the latter part of 2014, she decided to the join team of change makers here.

As Director of the Family Services Department, her work includes working with the Department of Social Welfare in Swaziland and learning cases from places in the community that need her help and to come up with sustainable solutions that will address some of the challenges community members face. ‘I challenge my staff to think outside of box, more than just providing conventional assistance’ she says. Her goals are to build the foundation of the Family Services Department so that it can increase the quality of help it provides. The Teen Club run by the Family Services Department and supported by the HealthCare Department serves as her inspiration. ‘It’s inspiring to see young people from all over the community come together, learn together and to be feel like they’re part of group lead by teen leaders’. She takes pride in this initiative and credits her team for playing a big role in making sure this initiative and others are a success. In fact, she acknowledges that without her team Family Services would not be where it is today, the Family Services Team serves as her back-bone and her motivation to wake up every day. She expresses her gratitude towards them for not only accepting her as her own but for showing love, care and the continuous desire to grow professionally.

At Cabrini, She has made it a point to educate people that the ills they face in Swaziland are not so far removed from the ills faced by the African-American community and other ethnic minorities in the United States. She is passionate about issues that have to do with social justice and inequality. ‘If I was prime-minister for one day, I would make sure that the National Disabilities Act is pushed, finalized and pursued’ and ‘I would also advocate for female representation in the Umphakatsi (Traditional Council). She is glad that her time at Cabrini has brought her closer to the St Philips community and that as a result she’s been able to identify pressing issues that require national attention.

A family person at heart, she enjoys being with her family and reading with her children. When she’s not working, she can be found watching basketball or baking what have been described as the best ‘vegan cakes’ in all of Swaziland.

Meet Pius Mamba

Pius Mamba,
Cabrini Ministries
Cultural and Community Liaison

'Changing the political system is the key, unless we change the way we do things politically the education and health systems are affected'

‘Changing the political system is the key, unless we change the way we do things politically the education and health systems are affected’

Pius Mamba is member of the Mamba Royal family; he joined Cabrini Ministries in 2003 and took on the role of Cultural Liaison. Having grown up in a very poor family, Pius knew that he had to work hard in order to inspire his siblings and his community. With his enthusiasm and ambition for learning he completed his secondary education at Salesion High School and went on to major in Accounting and Economics at the then University of Botswana and Swaziland. Upon completion of his tertiary education, he went on to teach math and accounting at different high schools however, his thirst for success lead he and his brother to start their own business. ‘I would never go hungry until I completed all my tasks for the day had been completed’ recalls Pius, ‘As the managing director of the company I learned a lot of lessons, hard work being one of them’.

The situation in the Ngcamphalala Community, where Cabrini operates, was very rife at the time Cabrini started its work. Not many people understood the English Language thus Pius joined the team as someone who understood both the English and Swati way of doing things. Having operated within the realms of business for most if his life, he had never imagined working within the healthcare sector, not especially with HIV and TB positive patients. ‘I was born here but when I started going out, I began to know my people more and the level of poverty I found here was shocking’ he recollects, ‘I was surprised though at the way I felt when I was helping people, Instead of helping the people, I was helping myself and I would go home happy because of having done something good’. Pius acknowledges that being at Cabrini opened up his mind to the plight of his people and it made him use his skills to benefit his people rather than just himself.

As Cultural and Community Liason, Pius role at Cabrini Ministries is to advise the organization on how best to approach matters of tradition and Swazi culture. He is particularly helpful in mediating negotiations between Cabrini, hospitals in the region and the local chiefdoms. Being the longest serving member of Staff at Cabrini and also being an older Swazi, many people respect him and heed his advice, thus he is well suited for his role. In addition to this, Pius had been instrumental in founding and coordinating the Education Support Program (ESP). ESP was established by Cabrini as a sponsorship program for children from homesteads who are not able to pay for their education. To date, ESP has sponsored over 500 children in nearly 20 different high schools, with seven children attending various tertiary institutions.

Pius is passionate about soccer and music. In the past he ran a soccer club and he was one of the founders of the Manzini Cathedral Church Choir, one of the biggest choral ensembles in Swaziland. His favorite soccer team, the Mbabane Swallows, is very fond of his support. Pius’ desire is to see a decrease in the level of corruption in Swaziland; he believes that a change in the political system could dramatically decrease the level poverty in the country.

Meet Sharon Singleton

Sharon Singleton
Cabrini Ministries
Director of Childcare

‘Nothing could be better than getting into a community and making people feel human again’

‘Nothing could be better than getting into a community and making people feel human again’

Sharon Singleton was born in Swaziland to a European father and a Swazi mother. She was one of five children given up to an orphanage by her mother but thankfully, Sharon was sent to a good boarding school where she completed her secondary education. After high school she studied book-keeping and commercial English but her self-awareness directed her to her real passion: pre-schooling. Determined to work with children, Sharon took a few short courses on teaching and pre-schooling. Her passion for children enabled her to remain within the teaching profession for 18years.

Sharon first came to Cabrini as a member of a workshop group; she would come to the mission and share her story of hope. ‘I came over to share my experiences with staff and children talking to them about being an orphan and it not meaning it’s the end’. Sharon fell in love with Cabrini’s mission and she joined the Childcare Department in 2010. One of her first contributions to the organization was to source funding for a healthcare fair. ‘We had asked for funding from a bank and a pharmacy but they rejected us, and so I asked Sister Barbara if I could go speak to them myself, I did, and we got 10000rand from the bank and pharmacy respectively’ reflects Sharon, ‘I met them and convinced them as to why their funds would mean a lot to this community’. This achievement is testament of how Sharon uses her amazing social skills to demonstrate her commitment and contribution to the organization.

As manager of the Childcare Department her duty is to guide her staff of 13 towards serving the community of mothers and children within the community. Her department works with mothers and solves their problems, and it looks after the well-being of the children at the hostel by helping them to put together some of the broken pieces of their lives. ‘I take the realities of what happens on the ground to high level meetings, because most of the people working at the top do not know what’s going on’. With over 200,000 orphans in the country, Swaziland has one of the highest orphan populations in the world. As an orphan herself, Sharon is dedicated to helping these children and she believes that she can make a difference in their lives. If she was Prime-Minister, Sharon says that she would arrest and bring to justice the officials in government who diverted the equivalent of over $40,000 from the National Children’s Coordinating Unit to build a guard house for one of the state houses. She believes that this money could be better used to address the challenges faced by woman and children in Swaziland.

Working at Cabrini has allowed Sharon to be the best she can be. She praises Cabrini for enabling her to be honest with herself and for enabling her and other employees to change situations around without having to plough through layers of burocracy. Some of the challenges her department faces include trying to reduce the high teenage pregnancy rate in the community. ‘Keeping pregnant girls in school is always a challenge; they need to understand that when you’re pregnant independence and freedom is lost’. Thankfully, Cabrini looks after these young girls and their children. For this reason, Sharon is motivated to come to work and when she’s able to turn a frown into a smile; she knows that she has done her job well.