About Comfort for Africa
Comfort for Africa is a faith-based NGO operating in the Kingdom of Eswatini. We have worked alongside local churches on a part-time basis since 2007.
Our organization was originally called Swaziland Relief, but we changed our name to Comfort for Africa after the Kingdom of Eswatini changed its official name in 2018.
We have had a full-time presence in Eswatini since January 2019. The focus of our work is in Education, Discipleship, and partnership with the emaSwati Deaf community.
Who are we?
- We are ordinary people inspired by the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini.
- We are committed to providing short-term aid and long-term relief to the emaSwati people.
- We are a grassroots organization powered by volunteers.
- We are creating culturally relevant programs by working with emaSwati community leaders.
- We are pursuing holistic solutions to the economic, social, and medical challenges facing Eswatini.
- We grew out of a partnership between Bridge Community Church and Vision of Missions Tabernacle Church in Pennsylvania, and the Christian Ministry Church network in Eswatini
- We are a registered 501(c)(3).
Our journey began in 2006, when Pastor Nelson Vilakati approached Pastors Angelo Juliani and Van Moore with a proposition. He had traveled half a day from Swaziland to Johannesburg, South Africa to speak with them. Pastor Vilakati shared the devastation that his country was experiencing and with tears in his eyes said to them, “This is what we need in Swaziland; we need a holistic approach that includes primary aid, clinics, and schools. Will you come help us?” Over the next few hours, stories of need mixed with the hope of a visionary.
Angelo and Van agreed to lead a team to Swaziland the following year. In the summer of 2007, a team of 50 Americans and South Africans arrived in Swaziland. Instead of using the team to serve his church, Pastor Vilakati sent the team to Madudula, a rural region with no schools or medical facilities. About 3,000 people inhabit the nearby homesteads, which are an hour walk from the nearest road. The team, aided by Pastor Vilakati’s church, erected a tent to house their clothing distribution, medical clinic, and nightly church service. After the team left, the tent continued to serve the community as a church.
The team returned to Philadelphia resolved to build a lasting partnership with Swazi Christian Ministries Church. Plans were made to build a medical clinic, school, well, and community center on a parcel of land given to the church at Madudula. In January 2008, we officially broke ground on the site. We provided a micro loan to a local man named Archie Ngwenya, who started a cinder block manufacturing business, which made the block we used. Over the summer, a grant from the Spano Foundation allowed us to begin work on the medical clinic.
In the summer, a team from Philadelphia once again made the 8,000 mile journey to Swaziland. They sent ahead of them a shipping container of full of clothing, coats, shoes, and medicine donated by the people of Philadelphia. The team ran medical clinics and distributed clothing throughout rural regions of the country.
In the spring of 2009, as work continued on the clinic, our well bore struck water. That summer the block work on the clinic building was completed. A grant from the Spano Foundation provided the initial funding for six classrooms.
Work began on the classrooms in winter of 2010. By the summer, all of the block work was completed on two of the classrooms. In the fall, we approved two more micro-loans; one for a chicken farm and one for a piggery.
In 2011, we poured concrete floors in three of the classrooms. Over the summer all of the block work was completed on the remaining 4 classrooms. In the fall, work began on the classroom roofs.
The roofs for all six classrooms were finished in the winter of 2012. Power lines finally arrived at the Madudula building site in the spring. The buildings were wired for electricity and lights. The well received an electric pump and filter. In the fall, we began the process of getting on the government budget in order to open our school in January 2013. The Ministry of Education informed us that the money was already allocated. They asked us to open for grades 1-3 in January of 2013.
The clinic building we re-purposed for the school. We built four new toilets and furnished 3 of the classrooms.
On January 22, 2013 the school in Madudula opened its doors to 150 students in grades 1-3.
Today the primary school is finished, with classrooms for grades 1-7, plus a library and faculty housing. Preliminary plans are in place to expand the school to include a high school.
We continue to send a shipping container of clothing and medicine every summer to meet our team. We have reserved 60 plane tickets for this summer’s trip. If you are interested in joining us, please send us an email.
Executive Director - Angelo Juliani
Director of Field Operations - Michael Sander
Special Ministries Coordinator - Catharine Sander
Governing board, USA
Van Z. Moore, Richard Winter, Edward Welch, Eric McCloy
Board of Directors, Eswatini
Angelo Juliani, Van Z. Moore, Michael Sander
As an all-volunteer, grass-roots organization, it has sometimes been difficult for us to accomplish all that we hope to. For several years, it had been the hope of our organization to put "boots on the ground" in eSwatini. Then, in 2017, Mick and Cathy Sander answered the call and began preparations to be Comfort for Africa's first full-time missionaries. They moved to Eswatini in January of 2019, where they now administer all field operations for the organization.
Cathy worked for 19 years as a surgical assistant at a private oral surgery practice in Spring House, Pennsylvania. She brings her knowledge of the medical field as well as her compassion and love for people and a gift for helping people to feel comfortable even in difficult circumstances.
Mick worked for 26 years as a professional educator, teaching social studies at a public high school in Warminster, Pennsylvania. His teaching, administrative, and organizational gifts are the main reasons he was called to serve as CFA's Director of Field Operations.
Mick & Cathy's journey
Mick has had a passion for cross-cultural ministry since his college days in the late 1980’s. Over the years, he has served on and led many short-term mission trips. It was Cathy, though, who first visited Africa. In 2005, she joined a summer team to Eswatini (then called Swaziland). During her two weeks there, she was filled with compassion, empathy. and love for the people of Eswatini.
Inspired by this, Mick visited Eswatini in 2007 as a part of the first team for what eventually became the Swaziland Relief organization (now called Comfort for Africa). While he was there, Mick likewise came to care deeply for the people of Eswatini.
They both returned to Eswatini with the annual summer teams several times over the next decade.
In the Fall of 2016, Mick and Cathy took a course together called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, which equipped them with information, insight, and inspiration about cross-cultural ministry. One night during the course, Cathy spoke up and suggested, "Let's pray about moving overseas."
In February 2017 that answered a call to go and live full-time in Eswatini to administer the work of Comfort for Africa.
After spending just over a year in support-raising and pre-field training, Mick and Cathy moved to Eswatini in January of 2019 to being their service with Comfort for Africa.
What our missionaries do
Mick and Cathy represent Comfort for Africa in-country and act as liaisons between the primary school, the community where the school is located, and the government of Eswatini. Mick also serves on the mission school board, which oversees the primary school in Madudula.
In addition to working with the school, Mick and Cathy partner with the national Deaf community in Eswatini, and work with the Bible Society of Eswatini to teach and promote Trauma Healing.
Learn how to support our missionaries here.