Backdoor- Our Community
“Backdoor (Mbonisweni) is an informal black township in the province of Mpumalanga (‘place where the sun rises’), the north-eastern corner of South Africa. Currently, South Africa is rated as the 59th poorest country in the world – according to UN the life expectancy is 48 in a country where more than 6 million living on less than $1 a day (UNICEF 2006). Many problems in SA today are rooted in the fact that until 1994 the country was ruled by a white minority government (the apartheid). Although there have since been democratic elections in the country, the cost of years of turmoil are still very much evident, particularly in terms of social disruption, poverty, crime & lost education.
Backdoor (Mbonisweni) is a prime example of this – suffering from poverty, underdevelopment, and a lack of education, employment and opportunities. A municipal report suggests 70% of the region is considered poor – with 30% living in extreme poverty. Housing consists of simple breeze block structures with tin roofs. Water is controlled by the provincial chief & erratic to say the least – a few hours every 8 weeks has been the recent trend. Infrastructure is very basic and unemployment in the region is very high.” This exert was provided by Linda McKay, one of our Backdoor missionaries.
AIDS is wiping out entire generations in Backdoor (high estimates for our region say 1 in 2 have AIDS, low estimates say 1 in 4). The high numbers of abandoned children have exhausted the current social welfare system. At any given time, the local hospital has 5-10 abandoned children in addition to the several special needs kids (some have been at the hospital for 3-6 years). Consequently, these precious treasures will be the focus of our new children’s village. What a reward from King Jesus (Psalm 127:3)!
Michaels Childrens Village is situated on the edge of the Backdoor community surrounded by forest,. The site has 23 acres of fenced-in land with 4 fully built beautiful 3-4 bedroom, 2 bathroom houses. The land also has a borehole (provides water for the houses) and electricity. The land is also within walking distance to the local schools and Iris/PIH church.
The site also has another 43 acres of undeveloped land attached that we can use to sustain the village. We intend to talk to local business people in order to tap in to local knowledge on how to make the land work for us. Initial enquiries have pointed towards agriculture and cash crops as being one option. Such a venture would ensure that the village would someday be self-sufficient (and provide jobs)!