December 22, 2020
Dear Swazi SHEROES Supporter,
Despite the challenges we have all faced with COVID-19, 2020 has been a remarkable year for Swazi SHEROES. This year we finally went from concept to implementation in transforming the lives of young women in Eswatini. No longer will these young women have to engage in transactional sex, exposing themselves to HIV, in order to get by. By building businesses, teaching practical skills, and providing economic opportunity, SHEROES will help these young women make smart, responsible choices about their futures, choices enabled by economic freedom.
In January, Swazi SHEROES officially became a program of SOTENI International, joining a well-established 501(c)3 with a track record of fighting HIV in Africa and empowering women. SHEROES established two advisory boards, one in the United States and one in Eswatini. Comprised of 95% women, the boards focus on building our social enterprises, designing wrap-around services for participants, and harnessing the resources to make SHEROES possible. In addition, we engaged in a critical partnership with Her Majesty Inkhosikati (Queen) LaMashwama. The Queen’s desire to not only lend her name, but to become a hands-on leader on behalf of SHEROES in Eswatini, speaks to the tremendous support we have for building the capacities of these young women who face tremendous risks every day.
In September, we formally launched SHEROES. We screened the film Liyana, which beautifully depicts the challenges faced by young people in Eswatini, followed by an insightful panel discussion, which you can view here on YouTube, describing the impetus for SHEROES. By year end, we had signed the lease on our new facilities in Manzini, Eswatini and had initiated the purchase of the assets of a local accessories manufacturer, Imvelo. In addition, we confirmed a partnership with a local textile firm that will supply the needed materials for the launch of our apparel business.
In short, 2020 has been a remarkable year for Swazi SHEROES. We are now poised to make a real difference in 2021, and beyond, as we begin to welcome our first cohort of young women into the program. Your support in making such a huge difference in the lives of these young women is greatly appreciated. Please consider a contribution today to help us build on this foundation and start changing lives. Please contribute here.
Thank you and have a great New Year.
Founder, Swazi SHEROES