Tertiary Fund Beneficiary: Thandeka

Thandeka is 22 years old. In 2002, at the age of 8, Thandeka came to Cabrini after being referred to us by one of her primary school teachers at St. Phillip’s. The primary school teacher noticed that she was not thriving in her current homestead and recommended her to live at Cabrini during the school terms. After arriving at Cabrini, she underwent treatment for Pellagra, a disease caused by malnutrition. The treatment was successful and she soon began enjoying a healthy and happy life at the Cabrini hostel.


Thandeka Magagula

Because of her impressive scholastic records and passion for learning, in 2011, Cabrini was able to enroll Thandeka in Our Lady of Sorrows, a private boarding high school with an excellent academic reputation. In 2014, Thandeka graduated Form 5 (which is the equivalent to 12th grade in the states.)


At the Form 5 (12th grade) party, when Sr. Diane, the executive director of Cabrini Ministries Swaziland, asked the Form 5 graduates about their plans before receiving their results, Thandeka boldly declared that she would be best put to use assisting the matron of the new girls’ boarding hostel that Cabrini was opening on the mission. Impressed by her determination, Sr. Diane then hired her on. From January 2015- July 2015 she worked as the assistant boarding matron.

In August 2015 Thandeka began her studies at Good Shepherd College of Nursing, attending their Nursing Assistant Program. Her fees are proudly paid for by Cabrini’s tertiary fund. The tertiary fund is a fund setup by Cabrini and paid for with the help of generous donors from the U.S., specifically for students associated with Cabrini that wish to and are able to continue their studies in higher learning institutions.  She finds the work challenging as well as interesting, and is excelling in her classes. Her plans for the future are to finish her studies and get a job working in the nursing field. She then hopes to continue furthering her studies in higher education, including eventually receiving a P.H.D!

We are so proud to support Thandeka’s hard work and commitment to her education and future. We know that her determination and passion will get her far in life, and we wish her all the best!

St. Phillip’s Preschool Opens!

On January 26, 2016 the new and improved St. Phillip’s Preschool opened! The new preschool is now run by Cabrini Ministries in the hopes that we can help secure a stronger grasp of reading, writing, and mathematics basics in our young scholars. Registration opened at 7:30 AM, with a line of eager mothers waiting to get their children checked in. We had over 50 applicants to the preschool and were able to divide them up into two classes headed by our wonderful Missionary Sisters, Sr. Rosa and Sr. Adisse. Sr. Rosa and Sr. Adisse will be assisted in the classroom by Zandile Fakudze and Mrs. Dlamini. We are looking forward to seeing how the preschool helps instill a passion for learning in the younger Swazi generation, and are delighted and grateful for the hard work and care of our preschool director, Beth Kickert.

We are also very grateful to  Zoe Vivian Fourie for donating her time and artistic talents to the preschool! Zoe, owner and managing director of Zoggs Pty Ltd., painted some beautiful murals on the walls of the preschool to liven up the classrooms and create a friendly and colorful learning environment. Thanks to the preschool staff and supporters for helping Cabrini work towards a brighter academic future for the children of Swaziland! 


Young minds ready to learn!


Mothers and their children wait in line patiently for the preschool to open!


Thanks to Zoe Vivian Fourie, owner of Zoggs Shops, for painting beautiful murals on our classroom walls! Learn more about her wonderful business by copying and pasting this link into your browser: https://web.facebook.com/ZoggsIt/





Reading nook and “Brown Bear Brown Bear, what do you see?” Thanks again to Zoe Vivian Fourie for the amazing murals!




Sr. Adisse’s classroom includes trees!



The toys are ready for the first day of school!


The wonderful Preschool Staff! L to R: Sr. Adisse, Sr. Rosa, Beth Kickert, Zandile Fakudze, and Mrs. Dlamini


Sr. Rosa prepares her classroom for the first day of school!



Sr. Adisse with her new pupil.


Make (mother) Dlamini and Zandi were in charge of check-in.


Preschool parents coming to check in!


Good to know our new student, Princie, is keeping an eye on things.


Everyone gets a nametag!


Ernie made a new friend!


Playing house is the best!




Sr. Rosa in her new classroom.



Sr. Adisse with her new students.



Even the goats were there to welcome the new students!



No need to cry, Sr. Rosa will take good care of you!





Check out Princie’s new ride!



Playtime is an important part of preschool!


Reading time with Beth!


Come on in!


Time to introduce ourselves around the parachute!


“My name is…”






Lunchtime was a hit!



Can’t open a new preschool without the blessing from our priest, Fr. Gaston. Thank you, Father!

A Focus on Family Services: Part Two

The second part of our two-part series focusing on the impressive work of our Family Services Department! Wellness Days took place at Ubombo Country and Golf Club in Big Bend, Swaziland. They were a joy for both the facilitators and the participants, and were a welcomed day of self-reflection, and an important reminder that we must take care of ourselves in order to continue taking care of others. Read below for a brief synopsis of the day as written by a representative from the Family Services Department: 


Participants of Wellness Day received a gift bag that included a very useful flashlight!



Picture of one of our great staff members taken at our Wellness Day retreat location.


1st Annual Staff Wellness Day

During the months of November and December 2015, each department attended a Staff Wellness Day in which staff was educated on the importance of self-awareness and self-care, stress management, and expressive arts therapy. It was a time for the staff to be relaxed and to learn more about themselves and others. It was a day of professional character building and reflection. Sister Rosa (A Cabrini Sister from Brazil) opened each session by talking to staff about Cabrini Spirituality. After which other Cabrini staff members, facilitated sessions on general wellness and self-care topics. It was a day to remember that “Charity begins at home”.

A Focus on Family Services : Part One

For the next couple of blog posts, we will be focusing on our fantastic Family Services Department. We hope you enjoy reading a bit about the wonderful work they do here at Cabrini! 

Uplifting one another: Capacity Building Training for Partners of Cabrini Ministries

Cabrini Ministries Swaziland continues to pride itself on being an organisation in which capacity building of its staff as well as it partners is essential in advancing professionalism within the country particularity in regards to social service provision. During 2015, Family Services staff took on the task of offering a two part series of capacity building training.

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Capacity building training conducted (During the 2nd and 3rd quarter) included topics such as: Introduction to the Psychosocial Approach, A Family Centred Approach to completing a Comprehensive Assessment, Client Engagement: Empowering Vulnerable and At-Risk Clients, Basic Counselling/Interviewing Techniques, Recognizing Strengths and Challenges on the Homestead, and Reducing Burn-Out and Increasing Professional Self-Awareness.

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We anticipated only 15 DSW attendees, but due to the expressed interest of the Lubombo Regional Social Welfare Stakeholder Group, we had more than 40 participants every session. The attendees consisted of representatives from local NGOs working in the Lubombo region, Department of Social Welfare staff (from Mbabane, Manzini, and Lubombo region), Ministry of Education Guidance and Counselling staff, Royal Swazi Police personnel, Immigration, and etc. from the Lubombo region. Pre and post questionnaires and participant training evaluation forms were completed by the attendees.

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Many of the attendees were highly pleased with the training offered continue to say “they are learning a lot”. Training materials were created by the former and present Family Services Managers whom are both Master Level Social Workers. For the introduction to counselling training, Family Services staff collaborated with a Swazi master-level consultant who conducted a session on Basic Counselling Skills in Siswati.  In designing of the materials, previous DSW case management training materials were reviewed to ensure that the trainings built off of the previous ones and ensured no disconnection.

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For the training, scholarly research was conducted using journal articles addressing Social Work related issues and Social Work and Psychology academic textbooks, also child welfare literature from Australia, South Africa, and etc. Certificates of participation were formally presented in September of 2015, by the Acting Director of Department of Social Welfare and the Chief of Part of HFG/Abt Associates.  During the conclusion of the year in December, the Lubombo SW Stakeholders group met and with the assistance of the Cabrini staff developed a referral form that would be piloted for usage within the region in 2016.

Christmas Camp 2015!

Greetings, Cabrini Family!

Before the New Year rings in, we’d like to share some pictures from Christmas Camp, 2015. It was an excellent camp this year, as we had many fun activities including staff vs. kids soccer and volleyball games, a Christmas Carnival, and a trip to Tambuti Estates, where we had a fun-filled day playing in their pool! Check out the photos below to get a peek inside our colossally awesome Christmas Camp!

Enjoy a safe and happy New Year!


A silly group photo at Tambuti Estates! We are so thankful Tambuti Estates allowed us to use their pool for a fantastic swim day!!!


The kids celebrate their victory against the staff in the Staff vs. Kids soccer game!


Some staff chilling poolside at Tambuti Estates.



Slip n’ Slide fun with Natalie!

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The North Star, the cow, the rooster, and the sheep from the Nativity Play!

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The cast of The Nativity Play


the big boys

The boys of summer…

The big girls

The girls of summer….


Wendy and Phicekile make ice cream cone Christmas Trees!


Wonder models the latest Christmas fashion.




A group shot of all the models for our Christmas Fashion Show!!!


The hostel girls win the staff vs. kids volleyball game!


Photobooth fun at our Christmas Carnival!


Priscilla braves the pool!


Team photo of our boys soccer team! Guess who won?


Nosipho and Tengetile smile for the camera before they perform the roles of the angel and the narrator in the Nativity Play .


Natalie enjoys the kiddie pool with the kiddies.


Donut eating contest at the Christmas Carnival!


Christmas at Cabrini!

Seasons Greetings!

We have been having a great time here in Swaziland celebrating Christmas with the lowveld community. On December 12th, members of the Teen Club, along with their caregivers and guardians, came together to enjoy their annual Christmas party. For those who don’t know, Teen Club Swaziland is part of an international family of support groups, spearheaded by Baylor International Pediatric Aids Initiative.  The clubs are made up of young members of the community who are living with HIV. Rising to the challenge of addressing the psychosocial and medical needs of HIV positive adolescents, the club meets once a month to offer support, to learn valuable lessons given by qualified medical professionals, and to nurture a sense of camaraderie amongst their members. It is also a great way to make sure the teens and their guardians are receiving all the help and guidance they need from Cabrini Ministries. To learn more about this exciting international program, visit BPAI’s website!

We also want to send out a big thank you to RUCHI Wholesalers for donating mielie meal, beans, and sugar for the families to take home and enjoy. Thank you, RUCHI!

Enjoy pictures from our fabulous Teen Club Christmas Party!


What a treat! A few of the guardians perform a drama about the importance of being tested and adherence to medication. We were blown away by their talent!


An angel appears! One of our talented Teen Club members performs the role of the angel for the nativity play.



The girls perform traditional Swazi dances for an audience of their peers and caregivers.


Simo Mamba does a great job as the Christmas Party MC!


Thobile Matsubula, head facilitator of the Teen Club at Cabrini, opens the ceremonies with a word of thanks to the staff, the club members, and the guardians.


More dancing by our fabulous Teen Club Stars!


A word of prayer lead by one of the Teen Club guardians.


Make way for the boys performing traditional Swazi dances!


And of course, we must give the makes (mothers) and Go Gos (grandmothers) a chance to show off their dancing skills!



Teen Club members and their guardians all together to celebrate Christmas!

Sweet Seedlings!

Cabrini is so grateful to His Majesty’s Correctional Services for their generous donation of seedlings, worth more than E5000.00!  On November 26th, the Deputy Commander of His Majesty’s Correctional Services and eight of his delegates, arrived to hand over seedlings of onion, cabbage, beetroot, spinach, lettuce, carrots, green pepper, and tomatoes to members of our Teen Club Parent and Caregiver Support Group!  The seedlings donated were able to go to over 40 homesteads! Teen club Parents & Caregivers were super excited about the kind gesture, and the fact that the seedlings were hand-delivered by the officers, themselves. The caregivers also appreciated the agriculture lesson, including advice on planting and surveying the land, facilitated by His Majesty’s Correctional Services.

In his closing speech, the Deputy Commander made mention of the fact that it was their first time to come to Cabrini and they are hoping this is not the last time and look forward to continue supporting Cabrini in her endeavor towards improving the well-being of the needy communities and the OVC’s in the near future. Thank you, Deputy Commander, and we look forward to more visits and support from His Majesty’s Correctional Services! IMG_1945 IMG_1962 IMG_1963 IMG_1964 IMG_1971 IMG_1972 IMG_1975 IMG_1978 IMG_1980 IMG_1982 IMG_1987 IMG_1988

Education Department Success Story: Nonkululeko

Nonkululeko Maseko (3)

21years old
Success Story: Cabrini Ministries

Nonkululeko  is a 22 year-old young lady who grew up in Matyovu in the Ngcamphalala community of Lubombo. When she was 13 years old her mother passed away but fortunately for her a Cabrini Sister took heed of her plight and Nonkuleko was welcomed into Cabrini’s hostel in 2002. Unfortunately, while at school Nonkululeko and she was not able to write her form three exams. Despite this setback she did not give up, but instead she persevered and studied diligently during the school holidays. Determined to complete her high school education, she enrolled herself into Sibetsapi High School in Phumlamcashi. This too proved to be a challenge for her because in addition to being made fun of at school she had to walk 30 kilometers to and from school every day. However, with a titanium will-power she pushed on. With Cabrini’s support, she was fortunate enough to have her school fees paid, a plate of food every night, and candles to study with. ‘We made follow-ups on the children we were sponsoring and each time we inquired about Nonkululeko her school would tell us that she’s a well-behaved and hardworking student’ says Simo Mamba, Cabrini’s Director of Education. Having completed Form 5 with impressive marks, Nonkululeko is currently in the first year of a 3-year diploma in Education at Southern Nazaren University. Through Cabrini’s tertiary education fund, Nonkululeko’s university fees are taken care of. Nonkululeko’s determination together with Cabrini Ministry’s willingness to help are undoubtedly a recipe for success!

Fantastic Feast Day!

On the 13th of November, we here at Cabrini Ministries in Swaziland, celebrate our namesake and the foundress of the ministries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini. This year our celebration was made even more joyous by the addition of a much needed bout of rainfall! As the entire staff of Cabrini Ministries Swaziland gathered together to honor the life of Mother Cabrini, we reflected on the life of an amazing woman, without whom our work would not be possible.

Frances Cabrini was a remarkable woman who practiced great determination and perseverance in order to live her life spreading God’s love to those most in need. We are grateful to her and all she did in her life to make the world a better place. Siyabonga, Make Cabrini!

As it does every year, we start our Feast Day with a procession to the church carrying the statue of Mother Cabrini…

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We then attended a beautiful mass lead by Fr. Gaston, who was assisted by a few of our hostel children performing their duties as altar servers.

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Some of our hostel girls approaching the altar with offerings for Mother Cabrini.

After the moving mass, the entire staff gathered at the dining hall for some entertainment, speeches, and, of course, a feast!

Our Deputy Executive Director, Ben Kickert, kicked the program off to a great start, bringing up all the new employees that have joined us this year at Cabrini Ministries of Swaziland.

New Employees

“Welcome to the family!”

He then continued the recognition party by presenting staff members who have been with us for 5 and 10 years with a special gift and thank you from Cabrini Ministries.

5 Year Employees

And of course it would not be called a Cabrini party if we did not get to hear a few songs sung by our glorious choir!


To send the entertainment portion of the celebration out with a bang, Grade 5 and Grade 6 performed a fantastic retelling of Saint Frances Cabrini’s inspiring life, appropriately titled Mother Cabrini and the Cabrini Way. 

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Here we see Bongiswa Nxumalo perform the role of the priest in the baptism scene of the play.

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When Frances was a young girl, she admired her sister, Rosa, very much and was always copying everything she did!

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Here we see Celemphilo Maziya and Ncobile Gumedze with their prop boats and flowers as they perform the scene where Frances explains to her sister that she is imagining that the little boats are filled with missionaries that she is sending off down the river.

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Here we see Mother Cabrini’s first voyage to New York City!

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“Siyabonga, Mother Cabrini” the children sing for the finale of “Mother Cabrini and the Cabrini Way”

And then…we feasted on a wonderful meal prepared by our very own Cabrini staff.
The Cabrini Staff ate, laughed, and cheered on the rain as it fell down onto our thirsty land.

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Grades 5 and 6.

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Simo Mamba in traditional party attire.

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As always, we are grateful, Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, for all that you did for this world. We strive to live on in your spirit of peace and goodwill!

-The Cabrini Staff