Swazi single mothers must come together

In a presentation to the attendees of the Swaziland Single Mothers Organisation’s (SWASMO) annual Christmas party, the coordinator of the Foundation for Socio-Economic Justice,  Sebenzile Nxumalo, spoke about the many problems facing women in Swaziland. Sebenzile, herself a member of SWASMO, specifically blamed Swazi culture as being a prime cause of disparity and misery for Swazi women – a culture where woman are legally seen as minors. She also highlighted the importance of women coming together to tackle their own problems, and spoke encouragingly and appreciatively of the single mothers of SWASMO’s ability to do so.

The Swaziland Single Mothers Organization (SWASMO) is a volunteer organisation promoting self-reliance, mobilisation and education amongst Swaziland’s vulnerable and stigmatised single mothers. The newly founded organisation held its first annual Christmas party last Saturday at Manzini North Constituency at Makholweni. The colourful event included speeches, the rendition of poems, songs and dancing. Approximately 75 people attended the event, including the Member of Parliament for the Manzini North Constituency, Macford Sibandze, the Constituency Chief (Invuna), and Foundation for Socio-Economic Justice administrator Miss Sebensile.

Several SWASMO group representatives gave presentations about their successes during the past year and their future plans. Sylvia Masimula, the chairperson of the Makholweini group, told the crowd how her group had been able to generate 6000 Rand in 2010 from three main activities – a garden, handicraft and artchaar-making. She said that her group are planning to continue with their activities and increase their income in 2011. The chairperson from the Kakhoza group said that they had been able to raise 1300 Rand and were planning a laundry project in their area next year.

“The groups generally spoke of how they have learned a lot about planning, simple management and social relationship skills during the past year from having been part of the groups, concluding that they now have a better general understanding of their environment”, said SWASMO’s programme coordinator, Beatrice Bitchong

Local MP Macford Sibandze and the local Chief were reportedly very impressed by the work done by the groups and urged SWASMO to continue working in the Constituency. According to Sibandze, funds to support SWASMO’s activities in his Constituency could potentially be made available through the Poverty Reduction and Regional Development funds. “The MP has confirmed that there are funds in the Constituency to support the groups activities and that he will try to make sure that these funds will be allocated in the year to come to proposals that the groups will be submitting”, said Beatrice Bitchong.

Links:

SWASMO’s website

Culture a misery for Swazi women, Swazi Media Commentary, 9 December 2010

Makholweni single mothers ‘love’ Macford, Times of Swaziland, 6 December 2010

SWASMO: Helping Swaziland’s most vulnerable women to help themselves, Stiff Kitten’s blog, 19 October 2010

What key roles for Swazi women?, Stiff Kitten’s bog, 11 October 2010

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