The stretch of failure and disparity seemed to follow me
Nomkhosi Gelane, household number 25939, comes from kaGwegwe in the Shiselweni region. She is aged 12 years old and has both parents who separated hence she stayed with her great grandmother. Her mother is said to be working in Matsapha whilst her father’s whereabouts are unknown but believed to be somewhere in Sandleni.
Field officers from Compassionate Swaziland in Matsambama constituency reported her matter of sexual abuse on 23rd January, 2017 and the case was attended by NATICC on the 24th January, 2017.
The stretch of failure and disparity seemed to follow Nomkhosi when she became an outcast from her class and schoolmates who began to mock her and never wanted to sit close to her.
She struggled with a number of challenges, which emanated from both home and school. She has never received any support from both her parents in the light of the situation she lived in.
Some teachers in the school, who had observed this kind of behavior for some time, noticed Nomkhosi’s isolation from other children in the school. They had noticed her as an isolated child who was always mocked by other children. They made her life very miserable until the teachers intervened after noticing that she had a very bad odor. At first, the teachers thought it was a hygiene issue with her, but after getting closer to the child, they learnt that it was something beyond that. Her matter was reported to the head teacher who took it upon herself to dig deeper into understanding more about Nomkhosi and her background. As the head teacher went about seeking for more information about this girl, it transpired that Nomkhosi was staying with her great grandmother who was too old to even notice that something was not right with her.
It was also revealed that a known man, a neighbor who found her selling vegetables in the streets of Hlathikhulu at night, raped Nomkhosi at some point. After she reported her case to her great grandmother, the response was that, there was no need to go to the hospital or report the matter to the police, as she would be fine eventually.
ICC intervened by assessing client at home and at school. Immediately NATICC referred her to hospital for more diagnosis and treatment. Medical report revealed that indeed she was sick and suffering from sexually transmitted infections. Even though case had been reported to the police, perpetrator was not arrested. NATICC referred child to DSW for placement.
Currently Ntombi has been placed at Methodists Girls Home Zondle in Hlatikhulu. At school she now has friends and is in the cricket school team. She failed last year however her current performance shows great improvement and the teachers are sure she will graduate to the next grade.
A 10-year-old girl, a survivor of Neglect
Nqobile Mkhweli is a 10-year-old girl, a survivor of Neglect. She is physically disabled; her lower limbs are not functional. She is an interactive and intellectual child but is currently not attending school because of her physical disability. She sometimes goes without food for the whole day.
She lives at Bhanganoma under Mtsambama Inkundla with her 3 siblings aged 17, 15 and 5 years. Due to labor migration, her mother works as a domestic worker in the Hhohho region and comes home monthly. The family is child headed and the two siblings attend school during the day and Nqobile is taken care of by her 5-year-old sister who is a minor. She gives her food, if they have, and her aide is limited as she cannot help her to the lavatory thus Nqobile relieves herself within the yard. Because of her sister’s age she is sometimes left alone at home while her sister goes to play with her peers in the neighborhood.
She is exposed to harsh weather and at times shares her food with the family dog. It is also reported they were once nearly burnt inside the house with her younger sister while they were trying to make fire inside the house to warm themselves. Her relatives that live about two hundred meters from where she stays do not support her. She only bath’s once a month when her siblings know that their mother is coming, evident are her teeth that have turned yellow and scaling skin.
Nqobile is always half naked which makes it easy for her to respond to the call of nature without spoiling herself which also exposes her to sexual abuse as she is at times alone in the family compound. When the mother comes home she does not spend time with her children as she is an alcoholic who squanders her time and money at the nearby drinking spot. The food she buys does feed the children for the whole month which is why at times they go without food. Nqobile was supported by Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to receive a wheelchair but broke it as it was used by her siblings as ago-cart (umjibhi).