A common phrase in Africa is that “there are no orphans to Africa.” Due to the tradition of the extended family, there has always been someone to take care of a child, be it an uncle, cousin, grandparent or even another village member. But the toll of AIDS has been so disastrous in Swaziland that the social care fabric of extended families is overwhelmed and is no longer able to reach to orphans. The extended family structure is breaking down, and the children have become the victims.
Therefore, children are now among the most vulnerable in Swaziland and are often sexually abused, placed in abusive and/or extremely poor foster care homes, are labor-exploited, and many are infected by HIV/AIDS. There is need for short-term and long-term orphan care interventions. All children need a safe and supportive home environment, adequate nutrition, access to healthcare and education, spiritual development and protection from abuse and exploitation.
Although many of the objectives and strategies set forth stem from a highly pragmatic approach, it is imperative that we are sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit.