Ranking as the country with the highest rate of HIV and AIDS in the world and with approximately 69% of the population living below the poverty line, the number of HIV/AIDS orphans is increasing, and a growing number of families in Swaziland are unable to take care of their children. To escape the poverty in the rural areas, most children travel to the big city in the hope of finding work or begging to survive.
Manzini Youth Care has provided accommodation, food, education and care for street children since 1978. Today, MYC’s six Residential Homes take care of 90 children. Each home has at least one House Father and a House Mother to look after the children, cook and attend to their daily needs.
MYC’s homes provide residential care to an overwhelming majority of boys, as the majority of street children in Manzini are male. In Swazi culture, girls are kept in homesteads to help with the household and to take care of their siblings. Families also receive a dowry from the husband’s family when a girl gets married. Growing up in extreme poverty, boys have to find their own means to take care of themselves. Regular ‘street nights’ allow MYC’s Social Welfare team to identify increasing numbers of street children in need of care and support. In 2008 alone, 16 new boys were taken in by Manzini Youth Care.
In November 2010 the Government introduced a new National Social Development Policy. We were joined in July 2012 by Brother Markho Mara, who with the help of Mr.Alban Gambe and the Social Welfare Department, is helping to implement the new requirements for the National Minimum Standards for Residential Care Facilities in Swaziland. The six homes target children of different age groups. Please click on the following links to find out more about the homes and the children staying there.