Phumelela Project delivers Gender Based Violence and Drug and Substance Abuse awareness talks to school children.
In March 2019, Phumelela Project facilitated two awareness sessions on Gender Based Violence and Drug and Substance abuse. We were invited to Hillside Primary School in Manzini, where our trained child counsellor, Nomthandazo Dlamini, facilitated the programme to 500 Grade 3 to Grade 7 pupils. We also worked with the Domestic Violence Unit from the Royal eSwatini Police Service, who educated the children about Human Trafficking and dangers and risks involved. These joint initiatives has enabled us to develop a relationship with the police, and now we receive referrals from them.
Nomthandazo also delivered a talk to teachers about Drug and Substance Abuse at Mafutseni Community School. Phumelela will continue to work with the schools mentioned, and provide counselling sessions to pupils who are already using drugs, or are at risk of using drugs in the future.
In April 2019, we joined a cluster of civil society organisations engaged in youth and children's rights organised by COSPE Swaziland. COSPE is a private lay and non-profit organisation founded in 1983 to ensure fair and sustainable development, human rights, peace and justice.
The day focussed on ensuring that all children are registered at birth:
A child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and the right to be a full citizen. The registration of birth, guarantee the access to essential services, such as health, education and social welfare.
Other organisations we are working with on this are: Luvatsi, Swaziland National Youth Network, SOS Children Villages Eswatini, Flas Eswatini, Swaziland National Union of Students, Swaziland National Association of Teachers and FSEJ.
The EU Ambassador Esmeralda Hernandez also joined the launch.
Phumelela Project helps many young people in Eswatini, including survivors of domestic and sexual abuse.
This is the story of a 22-year-old woman the Phumelela Project has recently been working with. Her story begins in 2018 when she was raped by her abusive father in her own home. She immediately reported the case to the police. After doing so she was disowned by the rest of her family and forced out of her family home.
Distraught and now homeless, she went to stay with an Aunt & Uncle who secretly took her in, not wanting the other family members to know they were sheltering her. After a few days the Uncle tried to forcibly have sex with her, so once again she was left with no choice but to flee.
A complete stranger offered her shelter, and gave her the opportunity to work in a bar she owned. However, after a short time, the owner of the bar tried to make her sleep with the men who frequented the establishment. This is when Phumelela Project heard about her case and intervened.
The young woman received counselling from the Phumelela Project, but it was clear that she was in dire need of escaping her desperate living conditions. After confessing that she felt suicidal, the project found the young woman a safe house to live in. She received extensive counselling and once more stable, the project found her work in a restaurant. This gave her economic independence and some stability after an incredibly traumatic period.
She is currently doing well and has found herself a home to live in, whilst still working through the trauma of her recent experiences.
This was a desperate case, where Phumelela Project was able to make an intervention and quite possible save a young person's life. Through compassion and care she is now applying for college and will also be helping other victims of gender based violence with the Phumelela Project.
This is just one of the many cases the project deals with on a daily basis. f you can, please donate so we can continue our vital work.
As Phumelela's Youth Liaison Officer, Focus Dlamini has been through many of the challenges the young people we support also face.
My name is Focus Dlaimini, I am a 27 year old male. I was born in the Manzini, Swaziland. I was raised by a single mother who passed away when I was 6, I did not know my father. My auntie decided to look after me. There were often misunderstandings between my relatives, which brought tension between me and auntie. The treatment I received from my aunt then started to be bitter and then the love I received was no longer the same. I was sometimes starved and forced to hunt for food in the forest. I did not know how to hunt, but I learned; me and my friends from the village would make a hole in the ground to catch rabbits.
As the abuse at home continued, the only option that seemed available for me was to run away. Therefore one night after being starved I decided to run away and live on the streets of Manzini city.
One day, as I was wandering the streets, I came across a clothing shop and out of surprise I looked into the big window where I admired a lot of nice clothes and thought to myself what would it take to wear some of those clothes. Surprisingly the clothes were worn by dummies, which I thought were real people who were going to move when I stared at them. I had never seen them before because I came from a small village.
Soon after, somebody from my village, saw me in town and brought me back to the house. I did not like it there and I knew the treatment would be worse so I ran away again. I knew I would meet some other street kids in Manzini as I once did before.
I used to sleep in front of the Manzini shops, in the drains, old houses, under big trees. I would make a small hut with cardboard and plastics. The plastic would allow light inside during the night from the street lights. I used glue as a drug because it was good during the winter, the glue would make me sleep well and feel warm because we had no blankets. It would feel like you were sleeping in a proper house.
For food I would get the leftovers from the street vendors, sometimes I would get food from the bins, or if I saw a person throwing away a pie or other food I would just pick it up and eat it. Some of the other boys would beg but I did not beg. We used to hear from other boys about a place that was helping street kids called Manzini Youth Care, but we were not that interested in it because we knew that we would be under control and have rules because we were used to the freedom of the streets.
Then, one night I met a white man called Greg (MYC volunteer social worker). Greg told me he would give me some assistance. He brought me and four other boys to MYC.
At first it was hard to fit into the system as the older boys bullied us so I often ran away. One day another social worker came to the street while doing the street search visits and took us back to MYC. We eventually started to fit into the organization and a volunteer lady named Sandra prepared us for entry into school for the first time. At the beginning of the following year, I started to my first ever schooling. I was 12 years old by then.
I started to feel at home again when I was staying at MYC. I was a good student and was doing well at school. I had a home and many of the other boys became my “brothers”. After years of study I qualified to do a degree course at University but, unfortunately I couldn’t secure the government scholarship.
In 2016, I got involved in an establishment of a non profit organization called Phumelela Project. I am currently employed and enjoy working with my surrogate brothers and sisters and since we come from the same background there is a trust and bond with the people I work with. I have contact with the people we are helping on a daily basis. I am looking forward to gaining vast experience in the NGO sector, so I can create a crucial impact on changing the life of my surrogate siblings. I wish the project could have enough resources to extend the caring hand to the same victims nationally. All in all I really love working with the youth, especially the ones who are struggling to cope with life's challenges. My own life experience gives me a great insight and understanding of their problems. I now have a stable life and am a key part of the Phumelela Project team.
It brings me great pleasure to have made it up to this far in life and now my life proves to be on the right lane to a brighter future.