The Story of SHOKA Community
The rural community of Shoka is located near the border of South Africa and Mozambique. High in the hills of Swaziland, with beautiful landscapes surrounding it, homes are very spread out and families depend on subsistence farming. Shoka Community is devastated by poverty, and many children have been orphaned, in most cases by both parents. Challenges of access to food, education, and health care, make life very difficult for families in Shoka. Many people rely on subsistence farming and selling of fruits and vegetables in the local market. Over the past two years, the drought has prevented a harvest, leaving families in the community with nothing to sell and nothing to eat. Many of the residents in Shoka Community have come from Mozambique fleeing the civil war there, and thus do not have Swaziland IDs. This makes education a huge struggle for many children, as they get chased from school and are not able to finish their education. Access to health care is also a struggle in Shoka as the nearest clinic is 10 kilometres away.
Children currently supported: 100
Number of Care Workers: 10
Coordinator Name: Jabulile
Distance from swaziland Local Office: 10 km
Basic Services Started: july 2016
In March 2015, Hands at Work began walking with four women who have compassionate hearts to serve and care for the most vulnerable children in their community. These local volunteers have shown their dedication and love for the children in Shoka by visiting them in their homes and listening to each child’s struggles. Because of the massive food shortage due to the drought, Hands at Work realised the desperate need to begin feeding this year. The Hands at Work Local Office team in Swaziland visited the community to meet with the Care Workers and were amazed at the ownership they had quickly taken of their community. In just one week, the Care Workers had prepared a storage room for food, built a cooking shelter, set up gutters and water tanks for water harvesting, and recruited five more women to become Care Workers.
On July 6, 2016 Hands at Work began caring for 50 of the most vulnerable children in Shoka Community and have since increased to 100. These children will be provided with one basic nutritious meal a day, access to education and basic health care. They are receiving love and care from the passionate Care Workers who have come together to support and serve the children in Shoka.
Alica* is 19 years old but is only in grade 4. Since she is not a Swaziland citizen she does not have the correct papers to attend school and has been chased away many times. A lack of food has always been a huge challenge for Alica, especially because of the drought. Before attending the Care Point at Shoka CBO, it was common for Alica to go a week without food. However, Care Workers have brought hope into her life. They are committed to ensuring Alica receives daily food and consistent encouragement and support.
The Hands at Work office in Oshoek currently supports six 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 Shoka. It also gives administrative support, including helping with funding proposals, monitoring and evaluation, bookkeeping and reporting to donors.