Maseru is the largest city and the capital of Lesotho and is found on the north-western border with South Africa.
Maseru’s economy is highly dependent on textile manufacturing which exports its products primarily to the United States. Unfortunately, demand for textile goods has dropped and many have lost their jobs.
The growth of Maseru has been rapid and has led to the hasty construction of settlements without safe drinking water and sanitation facilities. The high rate of unemployment has caused locals to seek work in South Africa and elsewhere. The remittances from other countries have become a major source of funds for families in Maseru.
Maseru's vulnerable children
The children in Maseru are vulnerable. With the poor economic distribution and lack of income opportunities, many are being abandoned. As a result, children often don't receive an education, and others resort to working in the sex trade - exposing themselves to HIV/AIDS.
About a third of the families living in the main urban Maseru area are poor. Only 5% of the population of Maseru have guaranteed access to food all year round. This is one of the reasons urban farming has began to pop up and many people including children are forced to look for work as undocumented street or casual workers.
The unofficial estimate is that 50% of the children in Maseru are unable to enjoy their basic rights and the number of unsupervised children is growing every year because of poverty.
How SOS Children is helping in Maseru
The Lesotho government has been supportive of the efforts of SOS Children and have donated land approximately 8 km from Maseru. Here, we have started community outreach programmes that benefit children and their families. We began with the children affected by HIV/AIDS, working with local authorities to provide as much health care and emotional support possible.
These children are also enrolled in our educational programmes, while parents are taught how to earn more and provide for their families. Our medical clinic is currently seeing as many as 1,000 patients every month not just for HIV/AIDS treatment but also for general health and medical treatments.
New loving home
The SOS Children’s Village Maseru provides care for abandoned children. They grow up in a nurturing environment with an SOS Mother and SOS siblings. Over 100 children can be accommodated in these SOS families where they are supported through school.
The community has a nursery school and there is a day care centre for younger children. The SOS Primary School has the capacity for nearly 500 children, allowing children from local families to attend.
After graduating from school, SOS Children has a special programme for vocational training or prepares the young adult for higher education. This is the culmination of the SOS Children’s goal which is to help young people reach for a better future, assume greater responsibility and to learn how to make decisions that positively impact their community.
Many children in Lesotho have been orphaned by AIDS. We provide them with a loving family home in our Children's Village. When you sponsor a child, you support these children to thrive.