Or­phan­age ap­peals for as­sis­tance

Lesotho Times - - News - Pas­cali­nah Kabi

AN or­phan­age run by the Ro­man Catholic Mis­sion (RCM) is ap­peal­ing for food do­na­tions and other forms of as­sis­tance to cater for its 68 food in­se­cure or­phans and vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren (OVC).

Sit­u­ated at Ha Buoa­sono in Berea, St Ce­cilia Ro­man Catholic Mis­sion Or­phan­age has been hit hard by the El Nino-in­duced drought, leav­ing the 68 OVC food in­se­cure.

The 68 OVC are part of over 600 000 peo­ple de­clared food in­se­cure by gov­ern­ment early this year, forc­ing Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili to ap­peal for in­ter­na­tional as­sis­tance.

The Or­phan­age’s project man­ager Fa­ther Au­gus­tine Mahlaku said the drought had left the cen­tre food in­se­cure de­spite do­na­tions from gov­ern­ment through the Min­istry of So­cial De­vel­op­ment, part­ners in Slo­vakia and lo­cal cor­po­rates like Vo­da­com Le­sotho and Brown Cash & Carry.

“We are run­ning the or­phan­age on an empty tank.

“We are in dire need of food do­na­tions. In the past we used to grow our own vegeta­bles but now we buy ev­ery­thing due to the re­cent drought,” Fa­ther Mahlaku said.

“The So­cial De­vel­op­ment Min­istry gives us an an­nual grant but it is not even half of what we need.

“As we speak, the or­phan­age is food in­se­cure and we are al­ready ra­tioning the amount of food we give to our chil­dren.”

Fa­ther Mahlaku said the ever-in­creas­ing food prices also ag­gra­vated the sit­u­a­tion.

He ap­pealed to well-wish­ers to do­nate big three-legged pots to en­able them to cut food prepa­ra­tion costs.

He said the or­phan­age spent ap­prox­i­mately M2000 per month on cook­ing gas and that money could be chan­nelled to food pur­chases if they got the tra­di­tional cook­ing pots.

The or­phan­age was es­tab­lished in 2009 to mit­i­gate the ef­fects of the HIV and Aids pan­demic that re­sulted in sev­eral child-headed fam­i­lies in the area.

“Al­most ev­ery week­end there would be a burial of an adult who died from HIV and Aids-re­lated sick­nesses. We were soon faced with the plight of HIV and Aids or­phans,” Fa­ther Mahlaku said, adding the church re­sponded by do­nat­ing food parcels to the or­phans once a month, start­ing with 15 chil­dren.

He said they were soon over­whelmed by the num­bers re­quir­ing as­sis­tance and “this in­spired us to es­tab­lish our own or­phan­age and di­rectly take care of the or­phans and vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren’s needs”.

He said the or­phan­age housed chil­dren aged one to nine­teen as this al­lowed them to in­still dis­ci­pline at a ten­der age, adding that all the chil­dren at­tended dif­fer­ent pri­mary, high and vo­ca­tional schools as part of their up­bring­ing.

Or­phan­age project Man­ager Fa­ther au­gus­tine Mahlaku.

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