(Note from the editor)
Last week I received an email about a grassroots organization called Swaziland Relief. The gentleman who wrote me the email, Kenneth Stracuzzi, an “innovative and creative product developer for the teen and tween market,” has been working with Swaziland Relief for quite some time. He has been to Swaziland and has seen first hand the devastation that has been brought upon this country. As I read his email and took in his story, I could feel his devout passion for these people and decided to do some research. I found their website and was instantly in love with the Swazis, the volunteers and everything about this organization. Although it saddened me to read about the difficult situations these people live under, I was also impressed by the positive attitude they have; their hope in their futures, their desire to change things and their eagerness/ willingness to learn. I was also excited to see a video of Joe Spano, the brother of Maverick #16 Jim Spano, talking about his involvement with Swaziland Relief and his outlook on the changes taking place. I recommend that you listen to what he has to say, right here. To learn more about the accomplishments and needs of Swaziland Relief, please continue reading. I hope it positively impacts you the way it did me.
“The mission of Swaziland Relief is to partner with indigenous leaders to provide short-term aid and long-term relief to the orphans and AIDS victims of Swaziland through community development consisting of building and running health clinics and schools, developing clean water sources, and providing resources to start small businesses.”
Swaziland Relief is a partnership between Swazis and Americans to bring aid, relief, and hope to the orphans of Swaziland. Swaziland is a small, beautiful country located in southern Africa with HIV prevalence rate of 42.6%, the highest in the world , a declining population, a life expectancy of 31 years, and 80,000 children orphaned by AIDS.
We fear that Swaziland could be the first country to be eliminated by AIDS; a generation of Swazi children has already lost their parents to AIDS. Grandparents and neighbors care for orphaned children, but thousands of children as young as ten are forced to be the sole caregivers for their orphaned siblings. Many Swazi children have no one to supply them with the basic necessities of life: clean water, food, arm clothing and shoes, education, and health care.
Here are some of the Swaziland Relief programs:
*Relief Sea Container (40″ sea container shipment of clothing, shoes, medical supplies and food)
*Orphan Care Point (two meals a day for about 60 orphans)
*School and Community Center (three of the six classrooms are completed as well as a multipurpose room for community use)
*Mobile Medical Clinics (traveling nursing teams that serve seven Swazi villages)
*Clean Water (wells and filtration systems)
*Micro Loans (starting cottage businesses to create village economies)
*Swazi Friends (developing relationships and friendships with the gentle and grateful Swazi people)