Saturday 08 October 2016 will be remembered in the future as the day of the official launching of the "St Phillip's Sugar Cane Project". As it was shared in one of the speeches: "it is the first of its kind where a Church partners with a private organization to service the poorest in the community".
The Catholic Church has, in fact, agreed to develop St Phillip's 400 hectares farm through a concessional lease to Ubombo Sugar Limited.
St Phillip's parish was born in 1926. It was fitting to celebrate this 90th anniversary in this way.
Presently the Catholic Church runs quite a number of project in the area of education – with six very well run Catholics schools (-/+ 4000 students) -, poverty alleviation, health care services, child care, OVC Hostel and boarding hostel, support of OVC and child headed families, material and spiritual support of people living with HIV/AIDS, Home Based Care, training of care givers, counseling, food relief, provision of descent housing to the poorest, and giving support to the sick and housebound.
The sugar cane project will provide funds to them and, funds permitting, the Church hopes to offer more social services than what she is offering now.
The whole community of beneficiaries being served at present by the priests and the Cabrini Sisters was invited to attend this event.
Ministers, the Ambassador of the European Union, Chiefs and Elders of the communities, members of Parliament, the Regional Administrator, the Royal Swaziland Police, SWADE, Ubombo Sugar Limited, Schools managers were also present. Primary and High schools sent their representatives of teachers and students.
Being a diocesan event, the priests, religious and chairpersons of the Parish Pastoral Councils were invited too.
We are deeply grateful to so many people who gave their time in the last six years (at least!) to make this project possible. It is already making a difference in the life of the people providing employment to the local community and water to the gardens.
As I said in my speech: "The school going children are now having a balanced meal and improved agricultural practical lessons because water is available in the Mission." I personally witnessed that a few days' ago at the celebration of the Mass when, during the offertory, they presented vegetables from their garden.
At the end of the launching, 20 kg bags of sugar were given to our distinguished guests and everyone was invited to lunch.
The "Bishop's address" can be downloaded by clicking HERE
Click on the photo below for more photos of the day