When five-year-old Mlandvo’s mother died, the cause was listed as “undisclosed sickness.”
In Swaziland, this is how a community refers to the fact that the person had HIV/AIDS. Mlandvo’s mother succumbed just as several of his father’s other wives had. Polygamy is common in Swaziland, and in some ways this hastens the spread of the disease.
In some ways, it also explains why so many children are left to fend for themselves.
In other ways, it does not – although Mlandvo’s father was still alive, he did not live in the same house. And as is common with these polygamous family situation, his father’s other wives were not interested in caring for Mlandvo and his younger brother, Simiso.
Instead, Mlandvo and Simiso were left in the care of their older sister. She was enrolled in the equivalent of 9th grade and had a chance at creating a better life if she completed school. And so Mlandvo and Simiso would stay at home while their sister was in class.
With these additional responsibilities, Mlandvo’s sister was soon overwhelmed. Mlandvo became very sick, and Simiso was growing weaker and weaker. Their father did not believe in seeking medical treatment, and thus their little lives were in peril.
And yet nearby was a Mission of Mercy child development center. The staff at the Ludzeludze center became aware of Mlandvo and Simiso’s situation and intervened. Because the center had access to a local clinic, they secured testing and treatment for HIV and tuberculosis.
One staff member relates that “Mlandvo would be lying helpless on a sick bed or even have died a long time ago” without the assistance of the center staff. Mission of Mercy’s Children’s Crisis Fund provided consistent support so Mlandvo and his brother could continue their treatments.
Mlandvo is slowly gaining weight and growing stronger. He receives daily meals at the child development center, and special protein-enriched rice packs are available for him to take home to supplement those meals. He is enrolled in the center’s preschool and is excited about learning and playing like all little boys.
This is the ministry you support – help to those physically orphaned and left with little support. Because of your giving, we can continue to offer help to children like Mlandvo – and that help comes in the form of medical assistance, nutritious food, and love and support from caring adults.
When speaking to his anxious disciples before his crucifixion, Jesus comforted them by saying, "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you" (John 14:18.) And so too does Mission of Mercy work to help those in the greatest need, especially the children.
To learn more about the Children’s Crisis Fund that helps children like Mlandvo, click here.