SKHUMBUZO SHINES

SIKHUMBUZO’S LIFESTORY

The eighth born of nine siblings, Sikhumbuzo lost his mother at the age of four and six years later he lost his father as well. From then on, his older brothers shouldered the DSC_0013(Sikhumbuzo sharing a light moment cake with one of his colleagues)

responsibility of raising him and his three sisters, the youngest of which was orphaned at birth. The children’s subsequent admission into the hostel at Cabrini Ministries came as a welcome relief to the family whose economic strength was nothing to write home about.

The boy started school in the same year he came to live at St Philip’s Mission and went to perform steadily well through primary school. At first he did not stand out as a high academic achiever but was notably a dedicated pupil and it was collectively decided by staff working with him that he be sent to a more competitive boarding school environment. It was a decision that he was involved in making and one that would turn out to be the best boost to his academic prowess. He exceeded everyone’s expectations when he passed his JC exams with a merit, scoring an A in four subjects and going on to ace his SGCSE exams two years later by obtaining seven credits, qualifying for enrolment in the highest learning institution in the country if offered a place.

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Sikhumbuzo’s present character reflects a well-groomed young man who has emerged from shell of soft-spoken shyness of earlier years. During his high school career he developed impressive life skills that include public speaking, a far cry from what he was as a primary school. He started to take part in debate sessions at camps hosted by Cabrini every term break, eloquently presenting on behalf of his team. At a party held in his honor in February this year he confidently stood in front of the other hostel residents and shared his intended career path. There he was, disadvantaged as the rest of them in home background but also as privileged with opportunity, telling of his success and encouraging all to use every resource at their disposal in pursuit of their goals.

For the duration of his stay at the local hostel and boarding school, Sikhumbuzo, affectionately called Mphungane(a Fly), was the epitome of respect and good manners. Not a single instance of outright disobedience or major conflict has been reported and in cases of a disagreement he would articulate his case politely and arrive at an amicable resolution with the second party.    Though his life circumstances might have looked like a recipe for a bleak future, this young man certainly has the wherewithal to turn his fortunes around.

EVEN AFTER A DECADE SHE STILL PERSEVERES

Travelling down the dusty rocky dirt roads of into the bush of a sprawling mix of thorny cactus, ancient aloe plants, and sugarcane, you find huts made of stick and mud alongside modern circular shaped brick houses. Although in this unique rural scenery it tends to be very quiet, within the daily work of Mrs. Zodwa Gama, she hears the echoes the haunting screams of the aftermath of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, drought, poverty, domestic violence, and child neglect.   Currently, Zodwa is a paraprofessional caseworker at Cabrini Ministries Swaziland. Zodwa has stated that there tends to be misunderstandings about what a caseworker does especially in the rural areas, but once her role is explained most people realize that can get more from the faith-based organization than just Healthcare Services, OVC care, and education support.

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She has worked over ten years within the organization. For the past three years, she has been a caseworker in the Family Services Department. Although her matrimonial home is in the city, Zodwa chooses to return to the area that she grew up in as a child week after week to work with the most poor and vulnerable in Swaziland’s Lubombo Lowveld. The Lubombo rural lowveld has some of the highest rates of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and poverty in the country. Zodwa’s daily tasks as a Family Services Caseworker include visits to homesteads, conducting comprehensive family centered assessments, liaising with community partners, and providing psychosocial support. The aspects that she loves about being a case worker is working with people and getting to know them individually. Zodwa believes that a person being respectful, being able to assist families with identifying their strengths and needs, not making false promises, and adhering to confidentiality are the most skills needed by an effective case worker. Zodwa believes that the major result of her work and that of the department and the overall organization is to bring back the hope to children, youth, and families especially those who feel like they have no hope for a brighter future.

SPEAK OUT!… YOUR VOICE IS YOUR POWER

In all humility Cabrini Ministries prides itself in teen formation, which aims at producing not just a vibrant youth but better citizens ready to face tomorrow,  through self expression in the form of art, activities and games.

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(The campers are doing an art activity. They are with the Cabrini university students making some jewellery of their choices using coloured beads and strings)

This year began with a bang when youths from all over the Lubombo region gathered together at St. Phillips Mission, bringing with them their energy  eager minds joining with Cabrini College Volunteers and local staff,  to discuss issues today that affects their tomorrow.

The camp aims at empowering young minds, and thus shed a light to the future to keep them interested and equipped to face the future as mature citizens.  lets take a glimpse to this glamorous event that gave 2017 a head start this Mission.

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In this session they are doing a scavenger hunt game where they have to read a question from the paper and search for an individual who fits the question to sign under that question if its related to her/him. The first five campers to complete the grid win.

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Mixed campers (males and females) are enjoying their soccer match although the weather is not conducive for playing soccer. 

 

 

 

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Although soccer is known as a sport for males, female’s campers are very competing in soccer match.

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It’s very amazing to see boys participating so much in net-ball as it’s known as a sport for females, clearly we are breaking boundaries and stereotypes here.

For all this amazing experience, gratitude is forwarded to the department of education which played a major role in organizing this event. and to all departments that contributed in the most powerful and enormous way. moreover, the parents and guardians who believes in this organisation and thus allow Cabrini to be a co-parent to the future leaders. most of all to God who made everything possible in the charism of mother Cabrini and the Sacred heart of Jesus which never stops pouring the love Jesus.

 

 

 

CABRINI PRE – TEEN CAMP 2016

Our community care organization prides itself not just in care of life but also in nurturing young lives through co-parenting. When the economic situation forces every parent to earn a living, one way or the other parenting roles affected, leading to dysfunctional families at extremes and children having little or no guidance in life which is supposed to build and shape their social skills.

Cabrini organizes camps to meet parents halfway. This September we hosted a pre-teen camp themed “Speak Up Your Voice is your Power”, which was attended by 64 children from our catchment area. This camp included Team building games, so that they can get along with others, art activity which encourages creativity, sports tournament to show up their skills and ice breakers for warming up for the next session.

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small group sessions

The best performing groups were rewarded after each activity so that they can be motivated and to encourage a competitive spirit in teens. There was also a Talent show where they expressed their different talents in front of the others which build confidence.

Moreover, they participated in some activities aimed at discouraging negative comments towards other children, which results in lowering someone’s self-esteem. The pre-teens were encouraged to speak up whenever they are abused or bullied. This lesson was crowned with sessions and video clips on bullying presented by the family services department. In addition to that they did a wrinkled heart activity; they had to make up dances for the song “You can’t take away from me”

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participants expressing themselves in dance.

They also had lessons aimed at understanding their body changes as they develop both physically and psychologically.  All these efforts were joyfully met with cooperation and conscious participation from the pre-teens in all expectations.

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Expression through Art.

The week long camp was beautifully ended with creative work in poems, songs, sketch, and posters linked to the theme and yet illustrating the lessons valuable to the participants.

SWAZI YOUTH PARTICIPATES IN THE WORLD YOUTH DAY.

img_20160723_121340After a two and half days journey Sr. Laura Baldini, MSC.  Ndoda, Nonhlanhla, Phicekile & Sipho finally arrived in Poland for World Youth Day 2016, on July 20th. Their first station was at Wroctaw where they joyfully joined the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (O.M.I) on the pre world youth day mini event. They were joined by other youths from Zambia, Spain, U.S, Ghana, Germany, and Poland to mention a few.  During their stay in Wroctawu they participated in the music festivals, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, reconciliation and the way of the cross.

The peak of this moment was when they got an opportunity to share with their peers the cultural pride through the Traditional dance.  The most touching moments of their lives, was when they received generous love and care from the Polish people who hosted them in their homes and shared with them who they are and opened their warm hearts for them.  Despite language barriers but the Swazi team felt them love of the Polish people, motivated in the spirit of prayer based on spirituality of Our Lady of Justakowa, emphasizing on charity.

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From Wroctawu the team made their way to Crakow where the main event was to be held, where they joined in an Opening Mass celebrated by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwsz I Blomia Park.  This event had more than 2 ½ million people, who together welcomed the Holy Father who later at the even motivated the youth in his words “please do not retire before starting life… live a young life committed to Christ.”  This was a wonderful moment for the Youth from Swaziland especially when they met their Father in faith; Bishop Jose from Manzini diocese.

Moreover, they stayed at the vigil with the His img_20160727_115758Holiness and they were united to one another in the Love of God gathered by the Vicar of Christ who shepherds the church.

After the celebration the youth had a chance to visit a number of places, and yet for them the most outstanding of this visit was when they visited the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart generalate where they had an opportunity to see the mother Cabrini’s original letters, which she wrote.  And they left Ligcebesha as a souvenir to the sisters.

Other places visited were:

  1. Rome, ( St. Peters Basilica, St. Mary Majore, St. John and St. Paul), The Colloseum, Ara Caeli Church, Church of Gesu, Pantheon, Piaza Del  Populo, the Tomb of Catherine of  Siena, St. Peters Dome, and the Roman Forum.

World Youth Day 2016

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On Monday, July 18th, four current and former hostel children began an amazing adventure with Sr. Laura Baldini, MSC.  Ndoda, Nonhlanhla, Phicekile & Sipho began their pilgrimage to Krakow, Poland for World Youth Day 2016.

For each child, this is a life-changing experience.  They have never before traveled outside of Swaziland and they are being given the opportunity to meet peers from around the world.

Their journey began with a bus ride to Johannesburg, South Africa and then flights to Europe. We know each of them have enjoyed the experience and the sensory overload they have been experiencing – international airports, traveling via jets to another continent, massive crowds of faithful Catholics! They’ve been called to be ready for the suffering and joy.

As they focus on the 5th beatitude – blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy – we look forward to sharing in their experiences. Please continue to keep them in your prayers as they travel home in the coming days.  We will be sure to post more once they return!

Powodzenia! Ndoda, Nonhlanhla, Phicekile, Sipho & Sr. Laura!

 

OFFICIAL PILGRIM PRAYER
World Youth Day, Krakow 2016

God, merciful Father,
in your Son, Jesus Christ, you have revealed your love
and poured it out upon us in the Holy Spirit, the Comforter,
We entrust to you today the destiny of the world and of every man and woman”.
We entrust to you in a special way
young people of every language, people and nation:
guide and protect them as they walk the complex paths of the world today
and give them the grace to reap abundant fruits
from their experience of the Krakow World Youth Day.

Heavenly Father,
grant that we may bear witness to your mercy.
Teach us how to convey the faith to those in doubt,
hope to those who are discouraged,
love to those who feel indifferent,
forgiveness to those who have done wrong
and joy to those who are unhappy.
Allow the spark of merciful love
that you have enkindled within us
become a fire that can transform hearts
and renew the face of the earth.

Mary, Mother of Mercy, pray for us.
Saint John Paul II, pray for us.
Saint Faustina, pray for us.

http://worldyouthday.com/

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! 

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Young minds ready to learn!

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

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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/

 

 

 

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

 

 

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Sr. Adisse’s classroom includes trees!

 

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The toys are ready for the first day of school!

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

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

 

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Sr. Adisse with her new pupil.

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

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Preschool parents coming to check in!

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

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Everyone gets a nametag!

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Ernie made a new friend!

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Playing house is the best!

 

 

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Sr. Rosa in her new classroom.

 

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Sr. Adisse with her new students.

 

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Even the goats were there to welcome the new students!

 

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

 

 

 

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Check out Princie’s new ride!

 

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Playtime is an important part of preschool!

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Reading time with Beth!

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Come on in!

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Time to introduce ourselves around the parachute!

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“My name is…”

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Lunchtime!

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Yum!

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Lunchtime was a hit!

 

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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: 

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

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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.