And none of it is good –
We recently received a report from the Salvation Army about how Covid was affecting life in Eswatini and it makes a pretty grim read.
As people were restricted to taking precautionary safety measures by staying at home there was also an unfortunate increase of gender based and domestic violence in many families. The country also experienced some very atrocious abusive circumstances as men and women, parents and their children were becoming what they deemed as ‘abnormal’ in that they were now expected to spend a lot of time together at home. Many children and students, majority of them being girls, became victims of sexual abuse and, in that process they were also infected with sexual transmitted diseases, whilst some got infected with HIV. Some of the boys were forced into hard labor, including using and selling drugs and alcohol and getting involved other criminal activities such as rapes, house breakings and robbing people on the streets. Hundreds of school going young girls, sadly, fell pregnant during these days, resulting in them losing their self worth and their hopes for a better future through education dashed.
It was reported in January 2021, by one Member of Parliament, Loraine Nxumalo, that statistics sourced from the Ministry of Education and Training are revealing that 261 young girls fell pregnant in the last quarter of the year 2020, and 44 of these are primary school children!
Primary school children!! Hard to imagine.
And there’s more –
‘’ I Wrote three (3) of my final exam papers in the Maternity Ward”
Those were the words of remorseful of the 19 year old Temangweni “I never wished or planned to get pregnant while still at school. It felt very embarrassing to have one of my teachers to invigilate me as I wrote some of my exam papers in the maternity ward while expecting to deliver a baby ,there were 3 girls from my school and two were from other schools , this is one incident I wish to forget. I cannot blame it to the lockdown or boredom, but there is more and all this made me to realize that a family is a very important institution in one’s life. Losing a father at a very tender age, and having no brother or sister and having a mother who has migrated to South Africa to work as a maid that left me with no one to instill good values and discipline. The 25 year old boy, who is the father of my child used money and some goodies to entice me, and to me it looked like love. And I became a victim. Although his parents support me and the child, the future is not certain; my mother is heartbroken and upset with me. I know that the Salvation Army and the people who have helped to pay for my fees are very disappointed in me. But I want to try my utmost and revive myself. I know I can make if I work hard and smart, and if I get support.”