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Matjana Preschool Newsletter

Volume 6, Edition 8 - August 2012


Growing greens in Matjana's garden

Special fundraising appeal

Growing greens in Matjana’s garden


Matjana parents have been getting their thumbs green and the school community is awaiting lots of healthy greens– in the form of lettuce and spinach– which will feed the Matjana kids when our kitchen opens. It’s been lots of hard work but we’ve had plenty of fun along the way.

Starting a garden was always part of our kitchen opening plans. However we’d planned to wait until the start of rainy season, and plant the garden with the help of lots of rain and four 5000L water tanks. The US Embassy in Swaziland has just provided a second installment of funding (the first was for building the kitchen) with which we’ll buy the tanks and wire to fence the garden area.

However we got to an early start when Medicines sans Frontiers (MSF) donated some seedlings to the school. ‘We wanted to plant the seedlings straight away to show MSF that we’re serious. If we wait until the rain starts, the seedlings will be dead and MSF will not help us in the future,’ Celiwe Gamedze, school committee chairperson said.

‘We were lucky at the start that World Vision was doing work for food. So that parents could get rice from World Vision for the work they did in the garden- mostly they were fetching water. We needed a lot of water because the soil is very dry at this time of year.’

The parents and other members of Ndabeni community spent several mornings carting water from the well, tilling and planting and building a small fence to surround the garden. ‘We will make a big fence when the money comes from the US so that we have a big garden. We will grow some maize and vegetables for the kitchen. There are more than 90 children in our community who are orphaned or vulnerable children and they will all be coming to the kitchen for food. So we need to grow a lot of vegetables because the World Food Program gives mealie meal and beans, but no veges,’ Celiwe explained.

Although the work for food program has now finished, the preschool parents are still fetching water. ‘They put the water in the drum and I just have to pour it on the garden in the morning and afternoon,’ Celiwe said. ‘It’s no problem because I am at the school anyway. The rain will come soon and then we won’t have to water every day.’

The school’s ‘big’ garden will be a 30m X 30m. However we hope to expand eventually. ‘Our next project is to get a pump so we can have water and grow vegetables all year round,’ said Celiwe. ‘We’ve been working hard this year to make the kitchen, but now that’s done we need to start another project and keep improving Matjana.

“Ndabeni area is changing. In the past five years we’ve got a preschool, a tank for dipping the cattle and now the kitchen. We all want to keep working to make it a better place.’


support us!

We are trying to


Create jobs for women like Celiwe


Celiwe is 34 years old and a mother of 4 children. She often looks after orphaned and vulnerable children in addition to caring for her own. She is widowed and currently supports the children through farming and selling food from Matjana maize mill. “Since my youngest daughter started preschool I have been selling cooked food, chips and sweets to some make money. I also make traditional Swazi grass mats to sell for about E40 (~US$5).

She is hoping to get a job as a cook in the kitchen. “The cooks will be chosen by the community and they know I am a hard working person. I think I will be chosen from my area to be the cook and I look forward to having a job. I am the Chairlady of the preschool and all the children know me and I will be glad to be helping them.


and provide meals for kids like sandile


Sandile is 10 years old. He lives with his mother and sisters because his father has passed away. He attended Matjana Preschool in 2008 and is now in Grade 2 at Primary School. He has registered to get meals from Matjana kitchen. His mother said that although she always manages to feed him, now, getting meals from the kitchen will mean she can used the money for other things like buying clothes and animals, paying school fees and improving their hut. It will mean that she doesn’t need to light the fire by 6am every morning to make sure the food is ready before it’s time for Sandile to leave for school.


Special fundraising appeal

 We’re creating jobs for rural Swazis and a safe, loving environment where the Matjana kids can find food, education and support.

We need help to:

  • Employ two part time cooks to serve meals to and love our children– E1600 per month
  • Employ a part time gardener to grow food for and teach our children- E800 per month
  • Continue employing the three preschool teachers to educate and love our young children- E2900 per month
  • Employ a security guard to protect the children’s environment– E1100 per month
  • Buy cooking pots for cooking on the fire– about $4000
  • Buy sugar for the morning porridge -E200 per month
  • Buy fruit for the afternoon meal E1000 per month

You can help by:

· Making a one off contribution- if you have $20 or $2000, we can put your money to good use. $35 will buy enough sugar to sweeten the kids’ porridge for a month. $1000 will cover all the preschool and kitchen’s costs for over a month.

· Holding a fundraiser– hold a collection at church, ask your child’s school to hold a cake day, get your friends together for a few drinks to aid a good cause or make something to sell for Matjana;

· Becoming a regular sponsor- either sponsor an employee (about US$100 per month will fund a part time job for a woman like Celiwe) or a food item (about the same amount will make sure about 100 kids like Sandile get a piece of fruit everyday) or make a smaller regular contribution. An amount you may hardly miss (e.g. $20 per month) can make a real difference to Matjana.


Your donations directly benefit kids. All the people we employ are locals working directly with the children.

If you can help please deposit your contribution to one of our bank accounts


                                    Swaziland               Australia

Bank                          Standard Bank        The Community Mutual Group

Account Name:       Matjana Preschool   Friends of Matjana Preschool             

Account Number:  0140078375401       719585

Bank SWIFT code: BICSZMX                -                

BSB Number:          66056441              932000