|Motto: Restore a town. Transform a nation.|
|Bulembu Ministries Swaziland||2006|
|Population (January 2010)|
Bulembu is a small town located in northwestern Hhohho, Swaziland, 10 km west of the town of Piggs Peak. Located above the Komati Valley in Swaziland’s Highveld, Bulembu is named after the siSwati word for a spider's web.
The town of Bulembu is privately owned by a not-for-profit, Bulembu Ministries Swaziland.
Between 1939 and 2001, Bulembu operated as a chrysotile mine. Originally named Havelock Mine, the mine was part of the Turner & Newall Asbestos Group. The mine encountered heavy losses in the late 1980s and subsequently went bankrupt in 1991. The company was liquidated and the assets purchased in 1991 by HVL Asbestos Swd. Ltd. who changed the name of the mine to Bulembu Mine. HVL Asbestos ran the mine until it went into liquidation in 2001.
Upon liquidation the 10,000 residents of Bulembu soon deserted the town in search for employment elsewhere and the town became a ghost town with little more than 50 people remaining there. This was during the time that Swaziland was (as it continues to be) ravaged by the HIV/AIDS virus. There was a 900% increase in infection in one decade with the infection rate sitting at 3.9% in 1992 to 38.6% in 2002. Today over 40% of the population is infected and the result is a nation-wide orphan crisis.
The assets were purchased by Bulembu Development Corporation who sold the town and its 1,700-hectare property in 2006 to a not-for-profit: Bulembu Ministries Swaziland.
Bulembu was purchased with a vision to rejuvenate the town to a self-sustaining entity that combines sustainable, innovative enterprises with orphan care for 2,000 of Swaziland’s most vulnerable children. The two-pronged approach of coupling community enterprise with community care is what will carry Bulembu toward its goal of achieving self-sustainability by the year 2020.
Bulembu Ministries Swaziland functions on the premise that the creation of sustainable enterprises can be the solution to Swaziland’s chronic poverty and even the country’s AIDS pandemic. With the right sustainability models and entrepreneurial leadership, the vision is for Bulembu’s enterprises to generate $6 million in profits annually and thereby ensure Bulembu becomes an economically self-sustaining community. Examples of current enterprises include Timber, Honey, Water, Tourism, Bakery, Dairy and Mills.
Bulembu Ministries Swaziland has a goal to support the ongoing care of 2,000 of Swaziland’s orphaned and vulnerable children by 2020. By November 2009 there were 108 orphans under Bulembu Ministry Swaziland’s care.
Instead of living in an institutional orphanage each child lives in a home with a caregiver and a group of five other children. The program is set up this way to ensure that each child becomes a part of a family and the social fabric of the country begins to be rebuilt. The children in Bulembu’s care receive medical attention, an education, and a hope for their future.
Approximately 70% of Bulembu’s Orphan Care Program is funded through child sponsorship. Sponsors send funds each month to provide support for the sponsored children so that the children may go to school, receive medical attention, and have a holistic childhood.
Bulembu International (BI) comprises multiple complementary organizations: Bulembu Foundation, NOW Africa, Bulembu UK, Bulembu USA (Partners in Action), and Bulembu Ministries Swaziland.
Bulembu International strives to empower the Swazi nationals and locals on the ground, which is represented by Bulembu Ministries Swaziland, the implementing and operating organization.
The Bulembu Foundation is based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and serves as the primary funding and strategic body.
Bulembu UK, NOW Africa and Bulembu USA (Partners in Action) are funding partners.
- Official Website - Bulembu Ministries Swaziland