Q. When does the school year start and when does it end in Eswatini?

A. The school year begins near the end of January and ends in early December. Between terms, the students have two to four weeks off. Exams take place in July, October, and November.

Q. If I decide to sponsor a child, when are the sponsorship fees due, and will I receive a notice telling me when they are due? 

A. The sponsorship fees are due by the first of the month. An annual notice will be sent out in January. You may choose to pay monthly, quarterly, twice a year, or once a year.

Q. What does the “urgent” label mean on the child in need page?

A.  All of the children in the program, realistically, are in “urgent” need of being sponsored, but we specifically mark the most extreme cases. These children may be orphans or they may have been abandoned. They may be living with a grandparent, an elder sibling, another relative, or even a non-family member.  Generally, "urgent" means the child is living in a dire situation where the need for assistance may be even greater than that of some of the other children in the program.  All the children are in need, but there are some whose needs may be greater than the needs of the others.

Q. I sponsored a child recently and their photo has disappeared from the website.  Does this mean my sponsored child has left the program? 

A. No.  Once a child has been sponsored, we will mark the child as "sponsored" on the website and leave their photo on the site for a few more weeks.  After that, their photo is removed to make it easier for the remaining children on the website to be seen and, hopefully, chosen for sponsorship.

Q. My sponsored child's information does not include a date of birth - only their current age.  Is it possible to find out my sponsored child's date of birth?

A. Many of the children in our sponsorship program do not know their date of birth.  This is very common in Eswatini as most families do not celebrate birthdays. Many parents do not remember their children's dates of birth and if the births were not recorded, there is no way to be sure of their exact date.  We make every effort to obtain this information when a child is put into the program but in many cases, it is just not possible.

Q. My sponsored child has been in the same grade for more than one year.  Why is this?

A. It is very common for a child to take more than one year to complete a grade.  There are many reasons for this including - missed school days due to illness or the family needing the child's help at home. The child must also pass a standardized government test before they can pass to the next grade level.  If they do not pass, they must repeat the grade.

Q. The numbers of siblings on my sponsored child's information sheet keep changing a lot from year to year.  Why is this? 

A. Combined households are very common in Swaziland - grandparents, aunts, uncles, and lots of cousins or perhaps unrelated families all sharing a common dwelling or homestead.  Younger children may not know which children in the home are their biological siblings and which children might be cousins or unrelated children.  If there is no adult present at the time of the child's interview who can confirm or correct the child's response, the numbers we get may be skewed. Cousins are also referred to as "brothers" and "sisters", so that is another reason why numbers may change,

Q. At what age would a student be considered "too old" to participate in the sponsorship program? 

A. As long as a student remains in school, they may still participate in the sponsorship program.  Many of these students have been working hard to complete their schooling but have experienced gaps in their education due to various reasons - illness, the need to work to help the family, etc.  But at no age would we deem them to be too old to keep them in the program.

Q. How often does a team visit the Eswatini program?

 A. Currently, a His Hands for Eswatini team visits about every 12 months.

Q. Is it possible for me to join one of the His Hands for Eswatini teams so I can visit my sponsored child?

A.  Yes.  There is an application process for those who are interested in joining one of our work teams.  Every effort will be made for sponsors on our teams to meet their sponsored child but please be aware that we cannot promise this.  (Children are sometimes absent when we visit their school or sometimes we discover that they have left the program.)  If you are interested in applying for one of our teams, please contact us at info@hishandsforeswatini.org 

Q. I happened to find my sponsored child on a social media site.  How can my sponsored child afford to access the internet? 

A. Cybercafes exist in the cities and the cost to use a computer is minimal. Cell phones are also prevalent and very inexpensive both to purchase and to use.  All phones are prepaid phones.   But please bear in mind - for security reasons, it is against our policy for sponsors to have contact with their sponsored child (or any child in the sponsorship program) on social media.

Q. I sent an e-mail to the info@ address (or used the Contact Us form) a little while ago but I haven't received a response yet.  Why not? 

A. Please note that all our program coordinators are volunteers - donating their time and energy in order to help the children.  Many of them have full-time jobs and families to care for so they may not be able to respond to messages immediately. Because of the willingness of these wonderful, caring individuals who are serving in this capacity in our ministry without being financially compensated, we are able to send 100% of your sponsorship donations directly to the program in Eswatini.  So we ask for your patience while waiting for a response to your messages.

Q. I found [the program coordinator or a board member] on Facebook and sent them a friend request but it wasn't accepted.  Why not? 

A. The decision to either accept, ignore or deny friend requests on Facebook is left to the discretion of each of the program coordinators or board members.  Some of them prefer to maintain their Facebook account for only family and friends they know well and we respect this decision on their part.  Each of the program coordinators is a member of the group page for sponsors of the program for which they are responsible and they can be contacted with messages there or through e-mail.

Q. I have written to my sponsored child many times but I have never received a letter from them in return.  Why not?

A. One way that His Hands differs from some of the big-name sponsorship organizations is the fact that we do not have any personnel from the ministry on the ground in Eswatini to help facilitate things like letter writing.  Many of the parents of the children are illiterate and would be unable to write on behalf of their children or help their children to write a letter themselves.  And day-to-day life for many of the families of children in our program is a fight for survival.  Many don't know where their next meal is coming from or how they will pay for medicines for their children.  In the face of these difficult circumstances, we have chosen not to add to their burden (or to add to the burden of the pastors) by making it mandatory for the children to write back.  We strongly encourage them to do so, but we have not made it mandatory.

Q. Can I send money to my sponsored child?

A.  You may send a financial gift to your child through His Hands for Eswatini. If it is for a specific need, such as shoes, be sure to include a note specifying who and what the amount is for.  If you send a non-specified amount for your child, then our partners will most likely buy food for your child’s family unless they know of another pressing need the family has. If it is for a child in the children's home, the unspecified amount will go toward what the child needs most as determined by our partners.

Q. What happens if my child moves or stops attending the program for some reason?

A.  As soon as we find out that a child is no longer attending school and it appears that they will not return, we will assign another child to you and send you their information sheet and photo. We will do our best to match you with a child of the same gender and age as the child that you had.  Occasionally a child may return to the program, but once we have replaced a child with another, we are not able to switch back.

Q.  Currently, I am not in a position to be able to sponsor a child.  But are there other ways I can help the children in the Eswatini program?

A.  First, if you would really like to sponsor but just don't know how you could afford to do so, consider whether some small changes might help make it possible for you to sponsor.  Most of us could make some very small changes in our spending habits and "find" $20 each month we could use to help support a child.  You can also make one-time donations instead of the regular monthly support necessary to sponsor a child.  If you would like to do this, please visit our Donate page.  Also, if you shop on Amazon, you can go to smile.amazon.com, designate His Hands Support Ministries as your charity of choice, and a small portion of your purchase will go to us.  But if it is really not possible for you to do any of this, then we do have some alternate suggestions.  Most importantly, please pray for the children, their parents, the pastors, and the program administrators of His Hands.  Pray that God will continue to meet all their needs and provide a way for more support to come in.  Second, please consider sharing this need with your friends and family.  In our experience, word of mouth is the best way for new sponsors to be found.  Please consider sharing our website on your social media pages or even while waiting in the checkout line at the store.  We appreciate any help you can give!

Q. I have an attic full of good used clothing. Can the ministry send those items down to Eswatini or take them with them on their next mission trip?

A. For the answer to this question, please click here to read our policy concerning donations in kind.