The Neighbourhood Care Points (NCPs) require your help in many ways. They cater for children aged from 3 to 6 but frequently have only one teacher, so classroom support is urgently needed. Local teachers are mostly untrained so will welcome any form of advice on teaching methods and ways to help their children learn through play. You can help to organise activities for the children and prepare resources to make their classroom a more interesting place for them. You can also help with children’s individual needs - either educational or physical - or with community support projects, all with the aim of creating a healthier, more supportive environment for the children to live in. You can help to develop the infrastructure for the NCPs, including the play areas and gardens.
Whilst educators, social workers, administrators and professional fundraisers are desperately needed, the project leader will welcome anyone who is willing and able to support the local team as they offer comfort and support to the children in the Care Points and local communities.
The NCPs operate in the mornings, from about 8.00 to about 12.30. Volunteers’ hours would vary according to their specific placement outline, but might include some work in the afternoons with teachers or the local community, or in the preparation of materials to support the curriculum.
This project offers a responsible alternative to the volunteer who would like to work in childcare but is rightly concerned about the ethics of short term volunteer work abroad in an orphanage.
How your work will help !
The project is based at six Neighbourhood Care Points where basic education, life skills and two meals a day are provided to vulnerable pre-school children.
The NCP initiative was originally started by UNICEF to provide support and care for children left without adequate family support because of the effects of the HIV/AIDs epidemic. There are many NCPs throughout Swaziland, some run by NGOs, some by churches and some by the local community. Their over-riding aim is to provide orphaned and vulnerable children with the care and support they and their families need to enable them to continue to live within their community. Many children are cared for by grandparents or other members of the extended family. Many of them are more vulnerable to abuse in all its forms than children brought up in more conventional families. The NCPs are an important source of stability in their lives.
In addition the NCPs supported by this project aim to provide the right nurturing and educational environment to get children ready for school.
TheNCPs are basic, rough structures, located near community dwellings, although with volunteer help they are gradually being improved and extended. The people of the community run the care points in conjunction with our local partners and volunteers from the communities look after the children, teach them and prepare their food. All the NCPs have a garden where food is grown to supplement the meals.
Read more about how the volunteer programme works with this project here.
Despite its stable history and peaceful reputation, Swaziland has the world’s highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate which has taken its toll on the population leaving many children orphaned or vulnerable. It also has an unemployment rate of about 30% which rises to over 50% among the youth. These factors combine leading to approximately 63% of the population living below the poverty line. Young people in particular are increasingly becoming vulnerable to poverty; around 31% of children in Swaziland experience health challenges due to malnutrition, and on average children attend school for just seven years. Many of Swaziland's children have lost their parents and thus face food shortages, lack of adequate shelter and care, and most of all lack of attention and love.
You can play your part in child care projects abroad through responsible volunteer work with local people.