The Story of MSENGENI B Community
Msengeni Community is located in the mountainous region within the larger community of Msengeni. The rocky terrain does not lend well to many outdoor activities. There is a lack of employment opportunities and many families rely heavily on farming to support themselves. Without rain, families struggle to survive. Challenge within the community include the reliance on alcohol and the common practice for a man to have more than one wife, leading to distrust and a lack of unity.
The effect that HIV/AIDS has had on many of the families in Msengeni Community is substantial. Child-headed household are common as parents have either passed away from HIV/AIDS or left to find work in other areas.
Children currently supported: 50
Number of Care Workers: 6
Distance from Oshoek Local Office: 145KM
Basic Services Started: 2017
In August 2015, provision was made by the Community Based Organisation (CBO) in Msengeni to provide the 3 Essential Services for the most vulnerable children at the Care Point known as Msengeni A.
As the need of the most vulnerable within the community continued to grow, the leaders of Hands at Work, together with the Oshoek Local Office knew they needed to respond. Many of the children attending the Msengeni A Care Point walked long distances that are often not safe. In order to reach more of the most vulnerable children and help alleviate the burden of children who walk great distances, an additional Care Point was started in an area that became known as Msengeni B.
A local volunteer Care Worker who had been serving at the Msengeni A Care Point, but lived within the area that the new Care Point was serving, got in contact with the Chief who agreed to give Msengeni B Community Based Organisation (CBO) a piece of land to use for the Care Point. Taking initiative, this Care Worker started mobilising other woman within her community to come and serve the most vulnerable children.
In addition to the children from Msengeni A, the Care Workers started visiting more homes and identifying more vulnerable children in need of life-giving services. In March 2017, 50 of the most vulnerable children in Msengeni B Community began attending the Care Point where they started receiving a daily meal and support with their education and health care. The Care Workers are committed to caring for not only the children’s physical needs, but also their emotional and spiritual needs.
Towards the end of 2017, a cooking shelter, toilet and a jojo stand for water was built at the Msengeni B Care Point which helps to ensure that the most vulnerable children are cared for well every day. The Care Workers also purchased basic materials for cooking such as pots and cooking spoons.
A Maranatha Workshop is being planned for the Care Workers from Msengeni B CBO.
When he was just a young boy, both of Mthobisi’s* parents died, and he was taken, along with his three brothers, to live with his grandparents in the community of Msengeni. Life was very difficult for them as neither of his grandparents had a way to make money. They struggled to provide enough food for the family.
The Msengeni B Care Workers saw the desperation in Mthobisi and knew they had to do something to help. They welcomed Mthobisi to the daily Care Point with loving arms, where he immediately began receiving a hot meal every day. It has become a safe place for him here; to play and make new friends. His Care Worker, Sthembile is a strong support for Mthobisi and his family, regularly visiting them in their home and sharing about the love of Jesus. Her encouragement and love has made a huge difference in Mthobisi’s life, bringing him closer to Jesus every day.
The Hands at Work office in Oshoek currently supports nine Community Based Organisations, which exist to care for the most vulnerable in their communities. The office provides training, networking, and encouragement to those Community Based Organisations like Msengeni B. It also gives administrative support, including helping with funding proposals, monitoring and evaluation, bookkeeping and reporting to donors.