Stan­dard Bank donates to ed­u­ca­tion

Lesotho Times - - Business - ’Man­toetse Maama

STAN­DARD Le­sotho Bank (SLB) has part­nered with Nalane In­cor­po­rated in an af­ter-school pro­gramme for over 300 pri­mary school pupils worth M100 000 to im­prove ba­sic nu­mer­acy and lit­er­acy among vul­ner­a­ble groups.

Dubbed, Adopt-a-school, the project en­tails a feed­ing pro­gramme for or­phaned and vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren at St James and Tsosane pri­mary schools in Maseru, as well as train­ing and re­mu­ner­a­tion of tu­tor-coun­cil­lors who have been em­ployed to as­sist the in­sti­tutes.

Speak­ing at the Adopt-a-school spon­sor­ship han­dover cer­e­mony in Maseru yes­ter­day, SLB Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Mpho Vum­bukani said the bank’s in­volve­ment in the ini­tia­tive was in line with their en­deav­our to up­lift the lives of com­mu­ni­ties by in­vest­ing in chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion.

“Ed­u­ca­tion is the foun­da­tion of life and in­deed our econ­omy, so we are pleased that we are en­ter­ing into a part­ner­ship that is in­tended to nur­ture fu­ture lead­ers early in their for­ma­tive years be­cause a good to­mor­row starts to­day,” said Mr Vum­bukani.

“The pri­mary school kids whose lives will be touched by this ini­tia­tive are also des­tined to be our cus­tomers in the fu­ture, so for us it goes be­yond help­ing, but plant­ing a crop of cus­tomers for to­mor­row.”

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Vum­bukani, the project is meant to de­crease the num­bers of pupils who drop out or re­peat grades at pri­mary schools. It is also tar­geted at or­phans and vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren by pro­vid­ing them with meals and psy­cho-so­cial sup­port as well as en­sur­ing they have ac­cess to im­proved learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ences that in­clude homework, test prepa­ra­tion as­sis­tance, read­ing as well as group and in­di­vid­ual coun­selling.

He paid trib­ute to the brain­child of the ini­tia­tive, Mathata Mpela from Nalane In­cor­po­rated, who started the project last year. Nalane In­cor­po­rated is a non-gov­ern­men­tal youth devel­op­ment or­gan­i­sa­tion whose pri­mary aim is to pro­vide in­clu­sive and com­pre­hen­sive af­ter-school pro­grammes for chil­dren and the youth of Maseru, many of whom have been or­phaned and vul­ner­a­ble.

“Mr Mpela pi­loted the project with­out any spon­sor­ship at St James Pri­mary and Tsolo gov­ern­ment school last year,” Mr Vum­bukani said. “With all his vigour and de­ter­mi­na­tion, the pro­gramme con­tin­ues to thrive and we felt that it is a wor­thy cause that we are ex­tremely happy to sup­port.”

In ad­di­tion to the do­na­tion, he said SLB staff would also vol­un­teer their time in pro­vid­ing tu­to­rial sup­port, read­ing ses­sions and men­tor­ship to the chil­dren.

Said Mr Vum­bukani: “We are also em­bark- ing on fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion and in­clu­sion and we be­lieve that this is the gen­er­a­tion we should mostly tar­get in or­der to cre­ate the best lead­ers of to­mor­row; hence I will still re­mind ev­ery­one that even our Hippo Chil­dren Ac­count has be­come a tool in en­sur­ing that the lit­tle ones are well equipped on time.

“We have no doubt that the ini­tia­tive will be use­ful for our chil­dren in the fu­ture.”

He also urged Mr Mpela and his team to em­ploy proper re­port­ing pro­ce­dures and en­sure aca­demic im­prove­ment to en­able SLB to ask other cor­po­rates to also as­sist in the ini­tia­tive. On his part, Mr Mpela ex­pressed his grat­i­tude for the sup­port they re­ceived from Stan­dard Le­sotho Bank, adding that an eval­u­a­tion of the pi­lot phase of the project had re­vealed that the pro­gramme was a re­sound­ing suc­cess.

“When I be­gan to look at the sit­u­a­tion in our beloved coun­try, I was taken aback by the in­creas­ing rate of or­phaned and vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren,” he said.

“In our coun­try, nearly 366 000 chil­dren were listed as or­phaned and vul­ner­a­ble. I also found that the drop-out rate at pri­mary schools was 54 per­cent. In 2014, St James achieved a 98 per­cent pass rate with four stu­dents in the top 10 whilst Tsolo in­creased the pass rate up to 86 per­cent.”

Mr Mpela added that the pro­gramme had also pro­vided em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties to many qual­i­fied tu­tors who had hith­erto been job­less.

SLB Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Mpho Vum­bukani

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