The Trustees of SSP in the UK and our brilliant team in eSwatini will all our friends and supporters a Happy Christmas and a wonderful and safe New Year! Thank you all for your continued support during 2021, which has been a difficult year for everyone.

The Situation in eSwatini

Schools reopened in early December, but problems remain at some schools, and we heard that several classrooms have been bunt down at Luhhumaneni School where SSP built 8 teacher’s houses and renovated the kitchen in previous years.

It is not our role to comment on the political situation but, as reported in our November News, one result of the schools being closed for a long time was that many children are hungry as they would usually receive a meal at school. Johannes said that the situation was dire and so he arranged some deliveries to Forbes Reef, Hawane, Makhwane Kop and Nkhaba. He says “Principals of the schools were thankful to the SSP Board for their concern for the needy children. They will now have sufficient food for preschool children and children who are at home since schools are closed.” See photos.

Makhwane Kop Primary School

Last month we reported that the work to renovate classrooms and at Makhwane Kop had been completed. We then had this from Johannes “Last week we had a severe hailstorm that caused damage to crops and buildings. At Makhwane Kop Primary school, hail damaged windowpanes. At the administration block, four windowpanes were broken and 71 in classrooms and 3 in the kitchen. The windowpanes need urgent attention because it is raining almost every day resulting in pools of water in some classrooms.” So, our builders stayed on site to fix the windows!

Raquel da Silva – some personal thoughts

Raquel is the last member of the team of volunteers in eSwatini to tell us a bit about herself and why she is involved with SSP:

“My name is Raquel da Silva, born in 1986 and raised since then in the Kingdom of Eswatini. My parents are from Portugal and landed up in Swaziland many years (50+) ago. Eswatini is very much home for us all. I did my primary and secondary education in Eswatini and then my tertiary in South Africa. I once was told while in university, that at least half the class would go on to pursue careers somewhat different to what they studied. I thought hard about that comment and never imagined I would be one of those. While at University I studied Sport and later did my honours degree in Recreation and Sport Management.

After completing my studies, I was in involved in church and NGO work. I currently work with The Rocking Horse Project (RHP) as Program Manager alongside four great play coordinators and a Board of Directors of vast expertise. Though my job designation is Program Manager, I currently am managing and directing all the daily activities of the RHP. The RHP is a not-for-profit association that was established in 2013 to meet the palliative care needs of children diagnosed with serious life shortening or life limiting conditions. Our objective is to be the hands that join the numerous facets of pediatric palliative care together and the feet that deliver our passion in a compassionate, dignified manner while improving the quality of life for these children.

I was automatically roped into SSP when I started working for RHP as Denise and Nomcebo were already involved. It was a pleasure to be part of the exciting and charitable work of SSP. My duties with SSP are not as advanced as those of other team members. I assist with some administration, am involved in all the meetings discussing projects and concepts as well as overseeing projects SSP assists with in RHP. The SSP has assisted with funds for RHP projects as follows:

education for mothers with children with certain health complications;

financial contributions towards RHP play coordinators as they assist with keeping up the educational needs of the children in hospital for long periods;

and knitted hats and jerseys made for child patients by SSP supporters and friends.

I have always found the beauty of working alongside the ‘local experts’ is that we are a team each with a different set of expertise coming together and contributing in our own unique way allowing us to pave forward the work of SSP. Thank you SSP for your support and allowing me to assist with the work that has and will benefit many in the country and the educational sector.”

See photo of Raquel wearing a hat made to celebrate international awareness of children’s palliative care services worldwide.