“I must confess my surprise when someone spoke about the possibility of buying radios. Really? Is there a need to provide radios to families?” Bishop Ponce de León recalls in his September 7 reflection.
With the government carrying out COVID-19 awareness campaigns through various media platforms in both Siswati and English languages, the 59-year-old Prelate recalls realizing that “unless people have access to that media, the message will not reach them.”
The radio sets are one of five needs the Bishop highlighted in his May COVID-19 appeal when he sought support to bring “vital messages and education into homes by providing radios and batteries in rural areas where there is none.”
As young people in the Diocese visited families to sensitize them about COVID-19, “they checked if they would come across any without at least a radio,” he says in his September 7 reflection.
“As our project targeted the most vulnerable, it was essential to find out if the information being provided by the government was reaching them,” the Argentinian-born Prelate recalls.
Since July, more than 500 radio sets have been distributed to needy families within Manzini, the only Catholic Diocese of the Southern African Kingdom of Swaziland, Bishop Ponce de León says.
He further says that the radio sets will also benefit children and young people who are unable to go to school as they can listen to education programs facilitated by the country’s Ministry of Education.
“These radios are "special" because they should be seen as God's gift in these trying times and should therefore be treated as such. God's blessings always take a special place in our lives,” the member of the Consolata Missionaries who has been shepherding the people of God in Manzini Diocese since his appointment in November 2013 recalls telling the beneficiaries of the radio sets.
In his September 7 reflection, the Bishop further recalls urging the beneficiaries to take good care of the radio sets saying, “While we thank God with words and praise, the best way to show how grateful we are is by the way we care about God's blessings. In this particular case by the way we will look after this gift.”