Alot has been accomplished - So much more to do

Alot has been accomplished - So much more to do

It has been over 6 years since I first visited Piggs Peak, Swaziland and initiated the Hampton-Piggs Peak Partnership. I had heard the tragic stories of misery and despair that afflicts this small nation where the incidence of HIV/AIDS is over 40% in young adults. The sheer magnitude of the crisis was so inconceivable I was compelled to visit the area and see the problem for myself.

A lot has been accomplished since that time. Through the generous support of organizations and individuals in Hampton and surrounding area we have raised close to $200,000 to help alleviate the impact of AIDS in Piggs Peak. This year alone our Partnership will contribute over $50,000 for school fees; exam fees; uniforms and clothing; medical assistance; access to water; food; and modern latrine facilities (photo attached).

Six years after we started the Partnership, the scourge of AIDS continues to be an overwhelming burden on Swaziland. But as a community we should be extremely proud of the positive difference we have made. Just this week, John Lovett wrote from Piggs Peak that we β€œmake a huge difference to the lives of many young students who would otherwise be unable to attend school.” Our mission is to make a difference one person at a time. With your help, we are doing it!

Our success is due in part to the exceptional partners and supporters we have on the ground in Piggs Peak – Karen Mandy, John Lovett, Principal Sam Mncina, Principal Phillip Dlamini, and Mayor Reg Lukhele. They are equally committed to our vision and our goals but the challenges right now are perhaps greater than ever before. The Kingdom of Swaziland is currently facing an economic crisis that has precipitated recent cutbacks in funding for numerous programs that impact both students and teachers alike.

It’s time to go back. In mid-October my wife, Lisa, and I will be traveling to Piggs Peak for about 12 days (at our own expense). Our objectives are to strengthen the relationships that are so important to our long-term success; understand the current challenges of our Swazi partners; and assess the needs of our Swazi neighbours. This sounds quite businesslike and sterile and there are always administrative issues to deal with, like transferring funds and opening new lines of communication. But we will be living with a local family and seeing the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS on Swazis first hand.

The needs are enormous. Numerous children have already approached us pleading for our help to allow them continue school next year. The good news is that, within Hampton, we have the resources to help them. But we need your commitment. Our ability to pledge our support in the future will depend on your pledge now. Please help by making a donation though our website www.hamptonpiggspeak.ca or calling me, Mark Bettle, at 832-0003.

Hampton Herald ends here

Alot has been accomplished - So much more to do