The Shewula Health Integration Project – was founded by Jacqueline Schaerer in 2000 and registered in 2003 with the objective to relieve poverty, sickness and distress of orphaned children in particular and the wider community in Shewula, Swaziland, Southern Africa, by the provision, particularly, but not exclusively, of food, clothing, blankets etc. and to advance education in particular, but not exclusively, of orphaned children. Initially medical aid was given to the sick and dying members of the community, especially the orphans, and very quickly expanded by providing food during the drought years, to education, and to many social issues. To continue this project, funding is needed to sustain and to carry on with the services we have established to assure the future of the orphans, be it in health and/or otherwise. The need for care is great.
Shewula is a community in the NE of Swaziland that has suffered the catastrophic effects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic coupled with severe food shortage due to successive years of drought. It is an area where the adult population has been decimated by HIV/AIDS and has left many children orphaned. The whole social structure of the community changed due to the amount of people affected by HIV/AIDS.
The male population started dying first and many families were left with sick and also dying mothers, many young children or elderly, mostly frail grandparents. Nobody was tending the fields anymore and the shortage of food became a real problem with many people suffering from severe malnutrition to starvation. To make matters worse, the regular rain stopped for three consecutive years. Many are still dying daily, leaving grieving, shocked and bewildered relatives, mostly children, behind.
Feeling very deeply about the situation, when Jacqueline came across the community of Shewula during a holiday, she started a project, that grew from feeding the most vulnerable children with a handful of rice or half an apple initially, to a very complex organisation. Within a very short period of time, she was able to perceive the domestic fragmentation caused by AIDS and to set up a feeding scheme providing one tonne of food per week over three years. She also liaised with schools to accept and feed some of the orphans. She created a community awareness in a neighbouring community about 70km away whereby food, water and clothing are taken to the Shewula community on a regular basis.
She also built a clinic to cater for the sick, which is frequented by the locals, and many come from afar too, as well as a daycentre for 2-5 year old orphans to help support their development.