SOS Children in Lesotho
Nearly 130,000 children in Lesotho have been orphaned by the HIV/AIDS epidemic that continues to have a terrible effect on the country. SOS Children has been working in Lesotho to help vulnerable young children, many of whom have been affected by HIV/AIDS, since the 1980s.
With SOS Children, you can help orphaned and abandoned children in Lesotho by sponsoring a child:Sponsor a child in Lesotho
A country blighted by HIV/AIDS
Lesotho’s ranking in the United Nations Development Index has been falling in recent years. Despite an appearance of wealth on the surface, inequality means that many people in Lesotho are desperately poor. Approximately 15% of Lesotho’s people are undernourished and a lack of clean drinking water continues to affect many.
HIV/AIDS affects nearly a quarter of Lesotho’s population and 28,000 children in Lesotho are living with the disease. Despite the shocking figures, there is hope for the future as facilities and treatments continue to improve.
Children in Lesotho
- Many children in Lesotho have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS. Over 65% of the 200,000 children who have lost one or both parents have lost their parents due to HIV/AIDS. Whilst the government has been praised for its recent work against the disease, children of this generation already live with the consequences. Children affected by HIV/AIDS are more likely to miss school, head households and be forced to beg in order to survive. Many children in Lesotho are HIV positive. Thankfully, recently, mother-to-child transmission has been reduced dramatically due to a government programme.
- Education in Lesotho is free and compulsory, but an estimated 18% of children do not attend school. However, recent programmes to increase school attendance are showing signs of success.
Our charity work in Lesotho
SOS Children has been working in Lesotho since 1992 when construction started on the SOS Children’s Village in the capital, Maseru. Completion was delayed by political unrest and fighting between rival army factions, and the village finally opened in 1994. Approximately five miles from the centre of Maseru, the village is on the slopes of a hill in the semi-urban settlement of Lithabaneng. There is plenty of space for the children to run around and play.
The community has ten family houses and eight youth houses, into which the older children move in preparation for an independent life.There is also farm land to cultivate fruits and vegetables; this ensures the children have lots of healthy food to eat. In a country where a large proportion of farmers are dying due to AIDS, it is vital the village has a sustainable food source.
The adjoining SOS Nursery School provides 125 little children with a high-quality pre-school education and consists of five group rooms, a kitchen and a playground.
Primary school education can be offered to 490 children at the SOS School. There are fourteen classrooms and three vocational training rooms for home economics, arts and crafts, and agriculture.
The SOS Medical Centre provides medical treatment to up to 12,000 people per year.
As the children from the neighbourhood can also enjoy the friendly and open atmosphere of the SOS Nursery and Primary Schools, and their injuries and diseases are also treated in the SOS Medical Centre, the people are very enthusiastic about the commitment of SOS Children's Villages in this region, and it will hopefully improve the living conditions of many people.
In order to reach more children in need, an SOS Social Centre offering community-based child care and support programmes to assist child- and grandparent-headed families was opened. The SOS Social Centre offers material and medical support, education and counselling as well as HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention campaigns to over 500 children and their families.
A second SOS Children’s Village has opened in Quthing. We decided to open a new community here as there are such a high number of orphaned and abandoned children, due mainly to HIV/AIDS.
An SOS Nursery opened in early 2010. It is the only pre-school in Quthing, and it can support 125 children, both from the SOS Children's Village and the local community.
An SOS Social Centre runs a Family Strengthening Programme to reach out to 400 AIDS-affected children and their families. This programme ensures that children get access to essential services, supports families to protect and care for children and strengthens support systems for vulnerable children and their families.
Aids Orphans in Lesotho
See also Aids Orphan Projects in Lesotho, Africa.
Life in SOS Children's Villages Lesotho: The story of Mpho
Mpho, aged 16, lives at SOS Children’s Village Maseru with his SOS mother Kananelo and his brothers and sisters. He loves to play football. His position for the past eight years has been striker. He enjoys playing in the village soccer team and the school team. Mpho has a medal for winning 'best player of the tournament'. He wants to play professional football as his favourite player is David Beckham. Besides playing football Mpho does well academically and has an average pass rate of 70%. His favourite subjects are English and maths.
Thapelo is the youngest child in the house at four years of age. "When Thapelo arrived at the village a year ago he had terrible eczema. With treatment, however, it cleared up nicely," says his mum. The other children in the house were happy to have a 'baby' in the family. Thapela attends the SOS Nursery School. He is a very open child and likes to sing and dance.
Nthati (seven) also loves to dance and sing. "She has a sweet voice," says her mother Kananelo. Nthati has been doing traditional Sesotho dancing for the past three years and is part of the school choir.
SOS Children's Village Association of Lesotho
P.O. Box 1180
Maseru West 105
Tel: +266 223 166 07
Fax: +266 223 166 07