February 11, 2021
Not many people know of Eswatini. This small landlocked kingdom in Southern Africa hardly gets any attention. And if people have heard of the country somehow, they probably only know about the many hardships that Swazis experience.
The kingdom, for example, is overwhelmed by poverty. More than half of the rural population lives below the national poverty line, and 20 percent of Swazis are considered extremely poor.
On top of that, Swazis in Eswatini have to deal with hunger. Because financial resources are few and far between, food is scarce in most villages and homes. About 58 percent of the rural population lives on less than $1.9 a day, making it nearly impossible to pay for food.
It's even harder when there's little hope of escaping this dire situation. The education system in Eswatini is below average, with many classrooms lacking the necessary tools and resources to help children grow, find jobs, and get the finances they need to take care of themselves and their families.
As a result, this cycle of hopelessness forces many Swazis to make difficult choices. Most of them have to choose between watching their kids suffer and leaving them behind to become orphans and vulnerable children. And unfortunately, this ultimatum is not new.
There are plenty of children in Eswatini whose parents have abandoned them because they can't take care of them. However, what is new is the work that Heart for Africa, a faith-based humanitarian organization, is doing to give these orphans and vulnerable children hope.
The new identity for orphans and vulnerable children
Heart for Africa has children's homes for kids who need to grow up in a new circumstance, one that's better, healthier, and imbued with love. These children's homes offer nutritious meals, good snacks, an excellent education, love, attention, and family, all of which are new to the children who are receiving them.
However, to really show each kid that they're no longer marked by their difficult past but are headed towards a new future, Heart for Africa does something unique. When the organization receives an orphan or vulnerable child placed with them by Social Welfare, that kid is given a new name to go alongside their Swazi name.
These new names are usually pulled from the Bible, and each one provides an opportunity for the kids to live life believing that they're children of God. At Heart for Africa, the kids are inspired to grow up knowing that they're cared for, loved, strengthened, and protected by a God who guides them and sees them as His own children. And this identity is instrumental to the kids' development and success.
Instead of going through life with labels like "orphan," "vulnerable child," "abandoned," "thrown away," "tossed aside," "uncared for," or "rejected," the children grow up with a beautiful identity alongside their Swazi name. And that new identity gives them the right to call themselves children of God, treasured possessions, chosen, loved, worthy, and wonderfully and fearfully made.
By stepping into this authority, the children at Heart for Africa walk with more confidence. They start to live life with a mentality that centers on the belief that someone much bigger than them is working everything out for their good.
This habit of providing new names alongside the children's Swazi names is a primary way that Heart for Africa loves the children in this small kingdom. But it's not the only way. In fact, it's just the first way that Heart for Africa leads the children into many more new beginnings.
The love every child receives
At Heart for Africa, the children just don't step into a new identity. They also walk into a new family that consistently provides for them. This milestone happens because of two key players.
The first is Khutsala Artisans, a Heart for Africa initiative that’s equally devoted to loving orphans and vulnerable children in Eswatini. At Khutsala Artisans, we give 100% of our profits to Heart for Africa to help provide for the children's needs. This money goes towards food, educational resources, medical care, clothes, bedding, and whatever else Heart for Africa needs to care for its kids.
The same is also true for child sponsors, the second key to Heart for Africa's success. Child sponsors donate a certain amount of money every month to care for a specific child, and that money helps provide for the child's needs.
However, the money from child sponsors and Khutsala Artisans does more than fund the basic necessities. It also allows the children to grow up as normal kids, enjoying birthday celebrations, field trips, gifts, swimming pools, and more.
In fact, here are all of the fun ways that Heart for Africa loves their children because of the contributions that Khutsala Artisans and child sponsors regularly make.
When kids are in elementary or middle school, field trips are a normal occasion, which is why the children at Heart for Africa get to enjoy them. Whether it's to Heart for Africa's farm or an excursion that the kids won't forget, class trips are always a fun time for the children to explore and hang out.
There are not many fast-food restaurants in Eswatini. Honestly, Kentucky Fried Chicken is one of the very few fast-food places in the whole kingdom, and their food is really good, which is why the kids love to go there so much.
Anytime a toddler transitions to the big kid's home that Heart for Africa has, that child is treated to a trip to KFC where they get to experience this fast food restaurant for the first time ever.
In Eswatini, it can get really hot outside. For this reason, Heart for Africa has an above ground swimming pool for each children's home.
During long summer days where the heat is unbearable, the kids love to go outside and take turns in their house pool. And when there isn't enough room for everyone to fit, the kids happily enjoy the sprinklers on the lawn. It's common to find them doing handstands and cartwheels while the water from the sprinklers is on.
Birthdays are a big deal, and Heart for Africa loves to show it. When it's a child's birthday, that kid enjoys a fun celebration all day long. And oftentimes, the birthday kid wears a new outfit and gets to enjoy a delicious, beautifully decorated cake.
Birthday parties aren't complete without birthday gifts. Starting at three-years-old, the children get thoughtful birthday presents that they can hold onto forever. For example, here are the birthday gifts that children receive:
So far, Heart for Africa doesn't have any children over the age of ten, so the organization still needs to determine what gifts the kids will get once they grow past that milestone. But seeing as the other gifts are so fun and thoughtful, it's guaranteed that Heart for Africa will continue to provide wonderful birthday presents to each of their kids.
How to help love the children in Eswatini
With Heart for Africa, the children in Eswatini are given a chance to live like normal kids, where they can be confident, have fun, go to birthday parties, swim in a pool, get gifts, take trips, and eat at a yummy fast food restaurant every once in a while. However, providing this opportunity requires the help of Khutsala Artisans and child sponsors who are passionate about seeing the children in Eswatini grow and prosper.
If you're someone who'd like to consider sponsoring a child, please don't hesitate to reach out to Heart for Africa. An employee would love to provide guidance and answer any of your questions.
But if you'd like to make an impact by buying some beautiful jewelry, then you can do so right at Khutsala Artisans. Every piece is handmade, and all of our profits go to Heart for Africa and its mission to provide hope and love to the children in Eswatini.
Start shopping with purpose by browsing the handmade jewelry at Khutsala Artisans!
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