Director of Childcare
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.