Photo stories from Swaziland

World Vision photographer Abby Stalsbroten traveled last week to Swaziland with a group of pastors from Austin, Texas, to look at the impact of sponsorship on children in rural communities. The country has a 24-percent HIV infection rate, but World Vision is working to feed and care for thousands of orphaned and vulnerable children across the country. Here are some of Abby's favorite pictures from the past week in the field.

*     *     *

A young girl sings songs with her friends ages 2 to 12 at a Hope Center in southern Swaziland. Hope Centers provide hot meals, supplementary education, and spiritual nurture to orphaned and vulnerable children, many of whom have lost their parents to AIDS. Twenty-four percent of the country is infected with the disease, which has left thousands of orphans in its wake. World Vision partners with other organizations to ensure these children receive care and support within their communities.

*     *     *

A boy and his mother attend a Bible club at a local church. About 200 children attend this club, which is a periodic meeting of several church groups in the area. The children sing songs, memorize Bible verses, and recite poems.

*     *     *

Collecting water is a daily task, even for the youngest children. Mlamuli Dlamini, 3, carries discarded plastic bottles to gather water from a dirty spring near his home with his siblings, while his mother and older sister carry larger jerry cans and buckets.

*     *     *

Zinhle Dlamini, 13 (center), shoulders the burden in her family of collecting water for her mother and eight siblings. "I feel a pinch when we are talking about water," says Zinhle. The water they drink isn't far away, but it comes from a spring that is little more than a dirty hole in the ground, covered by rusty iron sheets to keep the animals away. Despite this precaution, cattle and goats still find their way, contaminating the Dlamini family's only source for drinking water. Crabs and frogs live here, and snakes live in the grass nearby. The spring isn't very deep, and so it takes a long time to fill her buckets with water.

*     *     *

Nkoosingivile Mayisela, 7, sleeps next to his mother, Phetsile, 28, who is HIV-positive. Phetsile receives regular visits from Nomsa Mdluli, a World Vision caregiver who cares for 124 sick people in her community. Through Nomsa's love and encouragement, Phetsile is slowly regaining her health and strength as she takes her medications. She says her son often comes to keep her company as she lies on her mat, and they often fall asleep together.

*     *     *

Philile, 11, is a double orphan and cares for three of her younger cousins who have been abandoned by their parents. All four children visit a Hope Center regularly to receive meals, and caregivers come to check on them and make sure they are safe. World Vision built Philile and her cousins a house, after they were left with no adults to care for them and were being abused by another family member. Philile's favorite Bible verse is Psalm 34:4: "I sought the Lord and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears."

*     *     *

Children ride home from Bible club in the back of a pickup truck outside of Nhlangano, in southern Swaziland.

Read more stories from this trip to Swaziland to see how World Vision's sponsorship and development programs are helping to lift children and families from poverty to hope and stability.


    I sponsor a little girl from Swaziland. Daily I pray for Simsile. Thank you for this glimpse into her country and maybe even what her life is like.

    Great pictures, thanks for sharing

    have personally been to Swaziland twice, a place that should touch any exposed heart. Have tried to find the Lords will on where I could be placed to help others...

    i sponsor a child in swaziland i call him phil and i pray for him daily. i was wondering why is it that we do hear more about being able to adopt orphans. i do not have a large income but do have enough to provide for my family. i am not a young age at 45 but still i would love to be able to bring a home to a child who does not have a family.

    My husband Kim and I are heading to Swaziland in Sept. 2012. We are so excited to see our Nontobeko and her family and community. Thanks for sharing such precious pictures.

    world Vision Swaziland is just a blessing to the Swazi orphaned and vulnerable children; the needy adults and the nation at large. May it be more successful in all its endeavours.

    i was a sponsored child by world vision in Swaziland, wish i could meet the person who sponsore me. I am so grateful to world vision, you guys changed my life. want to give back too someday.

    Leave a Comment

    The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.