St Helen & St Katherine pupils, Sense Africa finish construction of Tambankhulu elderly home - Team Ndlovu - Sense Africa
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St Helen & St Katherine pupils, Sense Africa finish construction of Tambankhulu elderly home – Team Ndlovu14th August '18

St Helen & St Katherine pupils, Sense Africa finish construction of Tambankhulu elderly home

Story by Observer Reporter

TAMBANKHULU – Sense Africa, an international tour operator from the United Kingdom (UK) which works with the Eswatini Tourism Authority (STA) has officially launched the first phase of the Section 19, Tambankhulu Home for the Elderly following the completion of a E120 000-structure, which was partly funded by pupils from the UK’s St Helen & St Katherine High School.

In partnership with the Christian Family Church International – Swaziland, Sense Africa has brought students from St Helen and St Katharine School in Abingdon, UK to land a helping hand to Eswatini’s elderly folk. According to Jenny Bowen, Sense Africa’s Director, not only has the tour operator brought the Abingdon group for such charitable initiatives, but also three other international students’ groups for similar initiatives in Mhlumeni, Hlatikhulu/Madacaze as well as Mbowane.

Addressing the gathering at the launch, Jenny Bowen, Sense Africa’s Director, passed her sincerest gratitude both to the students and the Christian Family Church International – Swaziland for their selfless contribution towards such an initiative.

Bowen said that as a tour operator, Sense Africa is committed to showcasing the Kingdom of Eswatini as a prime tourist destination to the world at large, and has as such endeavoured to incorporate tourism with charity as they not only bring groups of international tourists to witness the scenery of the country, but also urge them to land a helping hand to Eswatini’s destitute populace.

“May I take this opportunity to thank the St Helen and St Katharine School’s students for having made it possible that we may today celebrate together for the launch of this project; thank you so much! Not only have the students contributed financial resources towards the construction of the house, but have also done an incredible job assisting with the building of the house itself. They have been mixing concrete and helping the builders with other pertinent tasks.  I would also like to thank Dr. La’ Sa’lette Duarte for her selfless efforts towards the betterment of the Swati nation’s livelihood. I just want to assure you all that we love you all and that Eswatini has become more like a second home to us,” Bowen said.

Addressing the press during the launch of the Section 19, Tambankhulu Home for the Elderly, Christian Family Church International – Swaziland’ Senior Pastor, Dr. La’ Sa’lette Duarte said that the church is to construct twenty four houses in total for the entire project.

“Today you are witnessing the launch of the Tambankulu Home for the Elderly, which is in its initial phase that will be twelve houses; hence, upon the completion of the entire project, with the aid of generous donors as Sense Africa’s tourists, we are hoping to have built twenty four houses in total. As you may well have already noticed, the home for the elderly has been positioned next to the Section 19 Care Point; thus, our objective is not only to house the elderly, but also afford them the necessary company where both they and the children may coexist,” Duarte said.

Duarte, whose church’s headquarters is in Johannesburg, South Africa, has also endeavoured to provide socio-educational support to the Swati children. The church spearheads the construction of care-points around the country for less privileged children. Currently, according to Duarte, the church runs nine care-points in the country, and the Section 19 Care Point is one example of these.

Speaking at the launch of the first phase of the Section 19, Tambankulu Home for the Elderly, St Helen and St Katharine School’s student Bea Nut-brown, who was the student leader for the day, revealed that they have fundraised the E52 000.00 of the total E120 000 cost, but have also been hands-on in the construction of the first structure of the initial phase of the Tambankulu Home for the Elderly.

Nut-brown said: “We are a group of fifteen students doing our A-Levels at St Helen and St Katharine School in Abingdon, UK and we have been brought by Sense Africa to the Kingdom of Eswatini to be part of this magnificent endeavour. We have raised part of the money, which amounts to E52 000.00 of the total cost towards the construction of the house. Not only have we contributed the money, but have also been hands-on in the building of the house itself; mixing the mortar and also helping the builders with other related duties.”

Meanwhile, STA Marketing Manager Bongani Dlamini lauded the UK pupils for their generosity, and said it goes a long way in correcting misconceptions about voluntourism.

“Volunteer tourism in Africa has been seen elsewhere as not impactful as it should be, but we in Eswatini are very privileged to host committed volunteer tourists brought by Sense Africa and other organisations. Their work will surely have a long-lasting social impact to various communities, including Tambankhulu,” said Dlamini.

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