Red Cross eases plight of orphans
LESOTHO Red Cross (LRCS) recently ensured an early Christmas for 300 Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) at Sehlabathebe in Qacha’s Nek by donating M840 000 worth of food hampers and hygiene kits.
LRCS handed over the goods which were funded by the German Red Cross in response to the acute poverty and El Nino-induced drought that has affected the area since 2015. Each child received a bag of maize meal, a bottle of cooking oil, a packet of beans and a hygiene kit consisting of sanitary pads for girls.
The LRCS donations covered 15 villages in Sehlabathebe and three distribution points were used, namely, Mavuka, Letlapeng and Ha-Moshebi. Sehlabathebe is located on the outskirts of Qacha’s Nek and it is the home of former Prime Minister, Pakalitha Mosisili. The area is also home to the Sehlabathebe National Park which is a popular tourist attraction. However, a huge segment of the local population experiences challenges of poverty and shortages of basic resources which compels people to migrate to Durban in South Africa to search for employment. Those left behind are largely dependent on donations or grants from various non-governmental associations and government.
Mpharane area chief, ’Makhotso Sekonyela, recently told the Sunday Express that the donations were a welcome relief to the community as most of them lived in poverty and hunger. Ms Sekonyela said it was heart-rending that children went to school on empty stomachs as parents had nothing to give them.
“For some parents it is a blessing that they have received the packages while some are already stressed because they are going to use them to pay back the maize meal they had borrowed from neighbours when they didn’t have anything to cook,” Ms Sekonyela said.
“We live in unbearable circumstances where there are no jobs and projects that people can work at because most of the villagers are not even educated.”
One of the parents also expressed gratitude to Red Cross and other organisations for mitigating their plight through much-needed donations.For his part LRCS President, Silas Mosuhli, said the education of children was high on their list of priorities. Mr Mosuhli said the children needed full support from their families and society to access quality education to enable them to become independent individuals in future. He said it was the Red Cross’ obligation to ensure that children got the necessary support to attain education and live healthy, spiritually fulfilling lives.
“Children need to eat healthy at all times that is why we had to donate when we received funding from the German Red Cross Society to help the less privileged.
“We give assistance to children especially the OVC to help them survive on a daily basis,” Mr Mosuhli said. them.
“We encourage local companies and individuals to invest and support the various science initiatives in the country. The children have the potential to contribute to the economic development of the country and create jobs.”
He also explained that this was a great platform for the education system and a chance for the youth to get involved in the sciences as Lesotho needed more scientists.
Acting LEC Managing Director Cooperate Affairs, Bernard Masoabi, said his company was interested in innovative ways of developing renewable energy sources.
“This is why we try our best to fund initiatives that encourage interest in the sciences among the youth.
“We believe that this is great platform to encourage students to pursue a career in the sciences and we have great hope that the students’ projects will have a long-term impact as they develop them beyond the expo. In future, we hope to have projects that are aimed at saving the environment and improving agriculture.”
Seabeng Tsoeunyane, a student from Mafikoe High School in Mokhotlong, said she was “extremely honoured to represent Lesotho at the fair and I am obligated to do my best and help my fellow students stay motivated and use this platform as a starting point for our careers in sciences”.