His Excellency The Deputy Prime Minister, The Honourable Themba Nhlanganiso Masuku, along with the Chief Executive of Standard Bank Swaziland, Mr Phil Mnisi, cut the ribbons to two units at a local hospice, Hope House, especially refurbished for the use of children with life limiting or life threatening conditions requiring step-down or respite care.
The many dignitaries present included the Secretary to the Cabinet, Mr Mbuso Dlamini, the Director of Health Services, Dr Simon Zwane, the Deputy Director of Health Services, Rejoice Nkambule, the Director of the National Children’s Co-ordination Unit, Mr Nhlanhla Nhlabatsi, representatives from PEPFAR (U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), ICAP (International Centre for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs), Baylor College of Medicine Children’s Foundation – Swaziland, doctors from the public and private sectors as well as owners of businesses large and small.
But the day wasn’t about who was more important than whom. The day was about adults from all parts of society coming together to see what role they can play in relieving the suffering and promoting the quality of life for these children and their families.
In her opening speech, the director of The Rocking Horse Project, Denise Mortlock, asked those present who among them had experienced the loss of a child or a brother or sister before they had reached adulthood and who wished that there could have been less pain and suffering for their loved one, themselves and others in their family. She said “although we can’t go back and change what happened, we can use what we have learnt to make it better for other children or perhaps even one of their own in the future.”
This struck a chord in the audience and was integrated into the speech of the Deputy Prime Minister, who is known for his great care and concern for all issues relating to children in Swaziland.
Sponsorship of Emalangeni 50 000 (approx. $5000 US) per annum for four years by the Corporate Social Investment Executive Committee, Standard Bank Swaziland, went a long way towards the renovations of the children’s section at this hospice and will also assist in the next phase of the project – which will be to create a play area, a counselling area and an area where children can receive end-of-life care at Raleigh Fitkin Memorial Hospital.
You can see more pictures in the gallery below.