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Schools are closed for orphans in Swaziland

Thousands of orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC) in Swaziland won't be attending school this year as the government failed to settle outstanding education fees of $10.8 million, IRIN reports.

Most of the country's primary and secondary public schools are currently closed, leaving nearly 200,000 of the most vulnerable children with nothing to do and no chance of bettering their situation.

Residents and humanitarian groups are shocked, as they were told by officials that the debt would be absolved and the schools would be opened.

"Last week government assured us that when schools opened for the third term, [13 September] money for the outstanding fees would be paid for the OVC," Sibongile Mazibuko, president of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT), told the news outlet. "This did not happen. The schools have no money to operate."

Many are worried that OVCs will continue to suffer because of this as many have no parents or means of survival without government assistance.

"School is not only necessary for the children’s education, but for socialization, because many OVC reside at child-headed households," social worker Thandi Gamedze, told the news source. " Their parents have departed."

According to the news outelt, officials are looking into ways to combat this problem. 
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