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

Siteki is a small town in eastern Eswatini in the mountainous Lubombo region, located around 30km from the border with Mozambique. It is predominantly a rural, agricultural region and has historically been one of the most marginalised and deprived areas in the country. Many people depend on farming, but recurring droughts put people’s livelihoods at risk. Poverty is widespread and many children fail to get enough food. Furthermore, over the years the impact of HIV/AIDS has deteriorated families’ capacities to care for their children. Many are left to fend for themselves instead of going to school.

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

Of people are vulnerable to food insecurity

Rural poverty and food insecurity

People in the region of Lubombo are generally poor. Droughts often significantly decrease crop production and kill livestock, which has a severe impact on family income. Furthermore, around 35% of people are at risk of not having enough food. This is particularly dangerous for children, as their physical and mental development is affected. People in the region also tend to have less access to clean water and sanitation than people in other regions of Eswatini. Only around half of the population have improved toilet facilities, which puts people at greater risk of contracting preventable diseases.

3 in 10
Children in Lubombo attend secondary school

Lack of education

Due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, there are many children in the Lubombo region who are extremely vulnerable. These include children who have lost one or both parents and who live in a child-headed household. Children often have to fend for themselves and take care of their siblings at a very young age. In many cases, they drop out of school for this reason. In Lubombo, the average duration of primary school education is only four years. Secondary school attendance is even lower in the region, with only 3 out of 10 children attending secondary school. Their prospects of finding a job are low and youth unemployment is increasing.

Your support makes a difference for children in Siteki

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 with their caretaker. 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 Siteki

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.