Eswatini Swazi Kitchen was established in 1991 to create employment and generate income for local women from disadvantaged areas.Eswatini produces delicious jams, chutneys and atchars, which are all produced to stringent international quality and safety standards. All the fruit and vegetables come from local small-scale farmers. The gift baskets are made from Lutindzi grass woven by women in remote mountain villages, and the wooden spoons in the gift packs are carved by a local group of disabled adults. For the women who work there, Eswatini has been a lifeline. Some of them came from drug rehabilitation centers or were forced to live on the streets; others simply struggled to feed their children. Most of them thought they were worthless. It’s hard to believe that when you meet them now – in just a few years the lives of all the Eswatini women have changed dramatically.
Everyone at Eswatini knows they are producing a first class product, and a sense of personal responsibility and pride is embedded in everyone’s contribution.Besides helping all these groups generate income, Eswanti is also a major source of finance for Manzini Youth Center (a local NGO), which runs four children’s homes, caring for and educating more than 100 street children and orphans in Manzini.
Sylvia Nhlenghethwa was mentally handicapped when she was brought to Eswatini for rehabilitation ten years ago. Her transformation has been remarkable – her workmates have helped her overcome her disability, giving her encouragement and assistance with her work, and describing her as “the most loving and friendliest person to work with”. Since coming to Eswatini, Sylvia has had three children, and has been able to send them to school, as well as supporting her blind mother and grandmother with her wages.