Sen­te­bale con­tin­ues to en­hance lives

Lesotho Times - - News - Retha­bile Pitso

SEN­TE­BALE re­mains com­mit­ted to en­hanc­ing the lives of Le­sotho’s vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren, ac­cord­ing to the charity’s Re­la­tions Man­ager, Ma­li­neo Mot­sepe.

Founded in 2006 by Prince henry of Wales and Prince Seeiso Bereng Seeiso to as­sist the coun­try’s needy chil­dren, Sen­te­bale con­tin­ues to get these vic­tims of ex­treme poverty and HIV/AIDS the sup­port they need to lead healthy and pro­duc­tive lives.

Speak­ing dur­ing the in­stal­la­tion of a soc­cer pitch at St Ber­nadette Re­source Cen­tre for the Blind in Maseru on Mon­day this week, Ms Mot­sepe said Sen­te­bale also sought to en­sure chil­dren liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties were in­cluded in “or­di­nary ed­u­ca­tional fa­cil­i­ties”.

Ac­cord­ing to Ms Mot­sepe, Mon­day’s event was made pos­si­ble through Sen­te­bale’s part­ner­ship with the United King­dom Royal Navy Polo Team (UKRNPT), whose blind­folded mem­bers played a foot­ball match against some of the chil­dren soon af­ter the pitch was in­stalled.

Ms Mot­sepe said Sen­te­bale’s ef­forts were in line with govern­ment’s ef­forts to in­cor­po­rate ev­ery child re­gard­less of his or her state.

“Sen­te­bale con­tin­ues to work with in­sti­tu­tions such as St Ber­nadette to en­sure chil­dren, es­pe­cially the most vul­ner­a­ble, are ac­com­mo­dated in main­stream ed­u­ca­tion by as­sist­ing with recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties such as this soc­cer pitch.

“We do our best to of­fer tech­ni­cal and fi­nan­cial sup­port to in­sti­tu­tions to pro­mote ca­pac­ity-build­ing and good gov­er­nance and lead­er­ship, child­care skills, psy­cho­log­i­cal sup­port, as well as en­vi­ron­men­tal san­i­ta­tion, among other ef­forts,” Ms Mot­sepe said.

A UKRNPT Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Mike Bowen, who led a five-man team in assem­bling the soc­cer pitch within one hour, said the ini­tia­tive was a great in­vest­ment into the lives of needy chil­dren.

“We are moved and hum­bled by the smiles on the an­gelic faces of these chil­dren who are cop­ing with what ad­ver­sity has thrown their way.

“We have had sup­port from the UK (blind) foot­ball team which par­tic­i­pated in the re­cent Par­a­lympics. We needed ad­vice on the best and safest foot­ball pitch we could get for chil­dren with vis­ual-im­pair­ment, and this is the re­sult of that con­sul­ta­tion. We also brought foot­balls with jin­gles in­side them to guide those who can’t see the ball dur­ing a match be­cause the chil­dren’s hear­ing is per­fect,” he said.

In her vote-of-thanks, the Cen­tre’s prin­ci­pal, Mary Patisi, ex­pressed grat­i­tude for var­i­ous stake­hold­ers’ ef­forts to make the lives of the chil­dren bet­­ever, Ms Patisi said the in­sti­tu­tion was fac­ing se­ri­ous chal­lenges, among them a short­age of staff and teach­ing aids.

“At the mo­ment, we care for 75 chil­dren who have been med­i­cally cer­ti­fied as vis­ually-im­paired. Most of the chil­dren are or­phans and oth­ers are from vul­ner­a­ble homes and be­cause of the short­age of re­sources, we can­not give all of them a good ed­u­ca­tion.

“For in­stance, we can­not put the chil­dren into dif­fer­ent classes ac­cord­ing to their spe­cial needs due to lack of re­sources.

There are some who can­not hear prop­erly and oth­ers need large-print teach­ing aids, but be­cause we don’t have enough re­sources, we can­not sep­a­rate them so that they get the best ed­u­ca­tion pos­si­ble.”in sep­a­rate in­ter­views with the Le­sotho Times, the chil­dren said they were happy with the new pitch, with some adding they hoped to be­come great foot­ballers.

Mean­while, also in at­ten­dance at Mon­day’s event were Sen­te­bale UK Cor­po­rate Part­ner­ships Man­ager Olivia ed­wards and Sen­te­bale Le­sotho Coun­try Direc­tor Tu­misang Le­duma, who both ex­pressed hope that the soc­cer pitch would give the chil­dren more op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex- plore their tal­ents.

Since its es­tab­lish­ment nine years ago, Sen­te­bale has been work­ing with a num­ber of in­sti­tu­tions, among them St An­gela (Maseru), Mo­rapeli (Mafeteng), Kananelo (Berea), Mokhot­long Safe home for Se­verely Mal­nour­ished Ba­bies (Mokhot­long), Phe­lis­nong Cen­tre for Dis­abled Chil­dren (Leribe), Rei­tumetse Cen­tre for Or­phaned Girls, Se­monkong Chil­dren’s Cen­tre and Mantsase Chil­dren’s Cen­tre ( Mo­hale’s hoek).

st Bernardette re­source Cen­ter stu­dents play on the new pitch on Mon­day

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