SOS Children’s Villages supports individual children, young people and families so that they can thrive (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Eswatini).

The small town of Nhlangano has a population of just over 9,000 and is located in the south-west of Eswatini in the Shiselweni District. The distribution of wealth remains extremely unequal in Eswatini, and Shiselweni is one of the country’s poorest regions. It is hit particularly hard by recurring droughts, which devastates the livelihoods of many people who rely on agriculture as a source of income and food. Many children suffer from undernourishment. Furthermore, the region is severely affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic and many children are without parental care due to the virus. As a consequence, they have to fend for themselves and rarely go to school.

Since 2001, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Nhlangano.

6 in 10
People around Nhlangano live in poverty

Rural poverty

Shiselweni is one of the country’s poorest regions. The situation is particularly grave in rural areas, where around 6 in 10 people live in poverty. The majority of people rely on farming as a source of income and to feed their families. However, the region is very prone to drought. In recent years, drought significantly decreased crop production, killed livestock and devastated livelihoods throughout Shiselweni. Many people do not get enough food, and this has detrimental effects on children’s growth. Furthermore, water shortages put children at increased risk of contracting water-borne diseases.

Of children drop out of primary school in Eswatini

Lack of education

Like in other parts of the country, the HIV/AIDS pandemic is a serious challenge in Shiselweni. Around a quarter of the population is infected with HIV and life expectancy is one of the lowest in the world. Children and young people are hit the hardest: thousands of children have lost their parents to HIV and now fend for themselves. Those who have lost parental care, or those living in vulnerable households affected by HIV/AIDS, are least likely to complete their basic education. In fact, around 25% of all children drop out of primary school. Without an education, the chances of getting a job are low; youth unemployment is a significant challenge in the area.

Your support makes a difference for children in Nhlangano

SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities to offer a wide range of support that is adapted to the local context. We always work in the best interest of the children, young people and families.
Can stay together
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Children playing together. Siblings grow up with each other, and often form bonds that last a lifetime (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Eswatini).

How your support helps in Nhlangano

Strengthening vulnerable families and communities
When parents face hardships, they can sometimes struggle to give children the care they need. SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities. Each family needs different support so that they can stay together. This support can include workshops on parenting and children’s rights. We also run training so that parents can get the skills they need to get a job or start their own businesses. Likewise, we ensure that children can get medical help and go to school.
Caring for children who cannot live with their families
Some children cannot stay with their families, even with additional support. When this happens, they can find a new home in SOS Children’s Villages. Here the children can build safe and lasting relationships. All the children in our care have access to education and healthcare. Wherever possible, we work closely with the children’s family of origin. If children can return to live with their families, we help them adapt to this change.
Supporting young people to become independent
To help young people become confident and independent, our local team works closely with each young person to develop a plan for their future. We support young people and also help them prepare for the labour market and increase their employment prospects. For example, young people can attend workshops and trainings run by SOS Children’s Villages. They also improve their skills through taking part in different projects with local mentors and businesses.