At Children’s Cup we are “all about the Children.” Period.
Those of you who have partnered with us and prayed for us for a long time know that in Swaziland we focus our efforts on OVC’s – Orphans and Vulnerable Children.
The term ‘Orphan’ is easily understandable – meaning “without parent[s].” But ‘Vulnerable’ is different – it is culturally and contextually defined. Who is really Vulnerable? Most of you from the West would refer to almost all of us in Swaziland as ‘Vulnerable’…
It’s really a question we deal with here on a daily basis. We always aim to give out generously the hope and love of Christ to anyone, but lines and definitions eventually need to be made.
So in an effort to ‘clarify’, we think the best way to define the word ‘vulnerable’ is by getting to know one of the families we work with daily.
Khethiwe Hlophe is married to the father of all 7 of her children. Born in 1968, she was the primary bread-winner of her household until a 2003 car accident took her oldest son, her two arms, their family car, and most of their monthly income. Financially, they have never recovered.
As a hard-working seamstress with her own machine, she used to make school uniforms for children and earned a liveable income. Her husband has currently worked at the same job for over 10 years at a petrol station, working 12 hours, 6 days a week, for less than $200- per month [a fair and expected salary here in Swaziland]. On this amount of income, the family has enough to barely send the kids to school and eat daily.
Since the accident in 2003, not only has the Hlophe’s income been cut to less than half, but their costs have increased, since they have to employ a woman to do all the washing and cooking, as Khethiwe is incapacitated to all the work herself.
Five of the six living Hlophe children eat each weekday at the local Children’s Cup carepoint in Madonsa. Two of the children, Marvelous [boy] and Sphimphilo [girl] are sponsored by Childrens’ Cup sponsorship partner, Mission of Mercy.
The sponsors of Marvelous, the Costigan family from the States, decided to send an extra $30- in a letter to help him buy something special for himself. The whole family was thrilled for Marvelous at the unexpected blessing from God – amounting to 20% of their family’s monthly income! As you can see, Marvelous couldn’t stop smiling!
So on July 7th we went shopping! He could have anything – what would he choose? Shoes for school – $14.87. School uniform [to replace the second hand threadbare one he wears daily] – $12.37. And a Blanket – $11.13 [if you did the math, we were able to make up the difference, because after sleeping on the concrete floor for most of your life sharing your big brother’s blanket, nothing could be better!]
No soccer balls. No squirt guns. No candy was even considered. Life necessities are chosen at age 8.
And that’s a pretty real definition of “vulnerable.”
But not every family situation is like the Hlophe’s – many are far worse. So thanks for being part of our team to help kids like Marvelous. And if you’re not, log on to Children’s Cup and find out how to sponsor achild here in Swaziland – www.childrenscup.org