Khalakahle Methodist Primary School is on the eastern side of Swaziland about 15-20 km from a town called Siteki. This area of Swaziland is called the low veld. It is a very rural and very poor section of Swaziland. Most people survive on substance farming. Unemployment in the area is very high. Khalakahle has 424 students in grades 1 thru 7. Approximately 36% of the students are orphans with another 53% being considered vulnerable, meaning their parents are alive, bu unemployed and extremely poor. This school has the highest OVC rate of the 33 Methodist Schools in Swaziland. With such a high OVC rate, and all the challenges that brings, one would expect the school to be pretty dismal. But the reality is, this school has a lot going on and has always been one of my favorite schools because of how hard they try to take care of their children and the school. The school has a feeling of hope that surrounds it.
In 2009, the head teacher, Make Margaret Dlamini, applied for and received a grant from an NGO. This grant was to set up an income generating poultry project that would benefit the OVC’s and the school. Several schools were awarded the same grant. After a years time the project was evaluated and the school that had done the best would receive playground equipment. Khalakahle won the playground equipment. In addition, the school was able to assist some students with uniforms and school fees.
In 2011, I talked with Make Dlamini and told her that One Child at a Time, One Heart at a Time would like to partner with Khalakahle to help them help their OVC’s. One of the things we did was to buy uniforms for several of the neediest students. Make Dlamini said they would love to expand their poultry project. In 2012 we plan to assist the school by providing the materials needed to expand their poultry project. Assisting this school falls inline with one of our organization goals which is to encourage sustainable projects which will generate income to meet the needs of our partner, their school and/or community.
After talking with the ministry of Agriculture, Make Dlamini learned that it would not be a wise move to just expand the existing building because the risk of disease killing all of the chickens would be too great. (I guess this is kind of like “Don’t put all of our eggs in one basket!” Therefore, they are going to build a separate building right next to this building.