Red Cross eases plight of or­phans

Sunday Express - - NEWS -

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”.

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