Child Headed Households

HIV/AIDS in Swaziland has seen an entire generation wiped out, leaving children to fend for themselves and their younger siblings. Child headed households are a growing phenomenon and these young people need our support. There has been as huge increase in the number of orphans and vulnerable children. 46% of the population is under 15, with many children left in the care of grandparents and other extended family, if they have them. Otherwise, they are left to fend for themselves; 15,000 children are in charge of their households today in Swaziland.

We support child headed households by helping with:

  • School fees : We are providing schools fees and uniforms for the most vulnerable children, in order for them to have a future free from poverty.
  • Child Headed Household training : We provide a training programme (4 weekends a year) for child headed households. This includes training on backyard gardens, developing memory books, a time to play and be children and form a support network of child headed households. A child looking after children is the reality that Swaziland. faces.
  • Rights training : We provide information children around their rights, including rights to access medical treatment, the right to education and the right to make decisions about their own lives.

Case Study

Child headed house hold Case study

Audrey was 13 when her parents died and she started looking after her 3 younger brothers and sisters who were not in school and in poor health. She had been exchanging sex for food and was now pregnant and very sick. In Audrey’s words “we all wait for death”. That was the story 1 year ago. That is not their story now. Audrey is now 14 and is caring for her 3 younger siblings and a baby of her own. Through Positive Women, her 2 sisters and brother are in school and doing really well. They are much healthier and eat at least twice a day. Audrey has a small vegetable plot that she manages and has food for her family and some left over to sell. All of them have access to a nurse once a month and are treated for worms, skin infections and other illnesses they have picked up along the way. Audrey is the only one of her family that is HIV positive and she is getting the support she needs to live healthily and positively. These children are no longer awaiting a death sentence, they have a voice and a life, and they have hope and ambitions. In fact, the three younger children want to be a dancer, doctor and a teacher. When Audrey was reminded that a year before she said they were waiting for death, she smiled and said “That was then. I am a different me and we are now living. Death will have to wait a long time for us now.”.