VILLAGE THANK LESOTHO RED CROSS IN STYLE
Lekhetho Ntsukunyane -
Postola community made history on Saturday May 19 this year when it held a ceremony to appreciate the developmental work done by Lesotho Red Cross Society (LRCS) for the villagers, becoming the first community to thank the humanitarian organization in that fashion, according to Secretary General Mr Kopano Masilo.
This came just a week after commemoration of the World Red Cross day which is celebrated globally on the 8th May in honour of the founder of the Red Cross Movement, Henry Dunant. The theme for this year is “ Everywhere for everyone- SMILE “.
As part of celebrating the W.R.C Day Postola community hosted a celebration day to appreciate the work done by the Society
The speeches delivered during the event indicated the importance of serving the people with great devotion so that they are left happy and with a smile, said the Secretary General of LRCS Mr. Kopano Masilo
“ we managed to be Everywhere for Everyone with a Smile as the theme of this’ year’s World Red Cross Day theme dictates. We reach some of the remotest communities in Lesotho, which no one really wants to visit nor bring development to”, Masilo indicated.
“i was so touched when i heard one WASH committee member say in the past they were ashamed to tell neighbouring communities where they came from. He said people kept asking them what are they doing living so far from everywhere and where there is no development” Masilo continued.
Masilo said the WASH Project has brought a sense of decency, dignity and pride to the community of Postola due to the presence toilets and clean water they get not far from their homes.
“ I promise the Society will go back to Postola. It’s an abandoned community. Red Cross will bring a lot of developmental skills to the people of Postola and people will love to visit and learn from them” He stated. He said the aim of providing such trainings is to integrate Postola with other neighbouring communities..
The Secretary General urged the government to support the Society due to the great work it is doing to reach the most vulnerable communities under very difficult circumstances..
He said government should by know be aware what is meant by’ the Red Cross plays the auxiliary role to public authority’. “ We are playing our part very well but under terrible financial constraints and this is where the government comes in so that we can assist more remote rural areas and give those communities dignity”, he further indicated
Located deep in the mountain range that connects three districts – Thaba-Tseka, Leribe and Mokhotlong along the Matsoku River – Postola is one of the remotest locations in the highlands of Lesotho.
The name translates to Apostolic and was inspired by the late Prophet Zacharia Mashongoane who led the Christian religion at the village in early 1900s.
When indicating the purpose of the celebration, the WASH committee Treasurer, Mr. Matsoai Mapoea began by narrating the challenges that as the community they were facing as follows:
“I was born and grew up here and there were no standpipes within the village and toilets. When I had travelled to other areas I was even ashamed to indicate that I come from this village because there were no taps and toilets. Most of our youth are migrating from this village due to lack of essential services and I was also planning to leave but I had planned to stay with my other colleagues but now that there is clean water and toilets, i am not going anywhere.
Due to lack of toilets, we would not be sitting like we are relaxing now because just below where we are sitting was a place for open defecation by females of this part of the village and on the eastern side was the place for men.
Sometimes when I am outside my house I would see someone going down and would know that she is going to the toilet., I would act like I don’t see her or even go inside the house. The environment was very dirty around this village.
However, with the construction of latrines now there is nobody who is still practicing open defecation and the environment is clean hence why we are now relaxing where we are seated because there is nothing smelling.
we felt we needed to call the people who assisted us, to thank them for what has been done to our lives.
On behalf of my community I would like to say we are very thankful to Lesotho Red Cross Society and those who assisted them to carry out this work”.
In addition, the 75-year old ‘Mamaoeng Mpoea speaks highly of how their lives have
been transformed through the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene project (WASH ) project of Lesotho Red Cross Society.
She added that now they have clean tap water within reach and have learned that they have to wash their hands after going to the toilet and have installed tippy taps not far from their toilets.
Despite of all logistical challenges due to limited road access, the water supply brings a lot of privileges to the village as they now have adequate clean and safe water to drink, cook, wash hands, draw water near their households that also assisted in building the latrines.
In his remark, LRCS Board Member, Mr. Lekhupane Sets’ase indicated that it was an honour for LRCS to be invited to such an event whereby the Society is being thanked for assisting the most vulnerable. He highlighted that due to lack of the facilities the community might have lost their children, parents or siblings but now that the facilities are available they should ensure that it doesn’t happen anymore by using facilities properly. He also emphasized that due to these developments nobody should migrate from the village. He also echoed the sentiments that request for road will be directed to the relevant government ministries.
According to the Mr. Nare Toromo, (the Project officer); the installation of stand pipes near homes has decreased the abduction of young girls for marriage due to collecting water far from home, “ approximately 40 minutes hill walk to fetch water, Nare concluded.
In addition, the Department of Rural Supply standards requires that a stand pipe should be max 100 meters from the furthest household.
The water supply system serves 91 beneficiaries (44 males and 47 females) and 1 male &1female with disability. Moreover, most of diseases decreased due to clean and save water.
Lesotho Red Cross Society has constructed 26Ventilated Pit Latrines (VIP), water storage of 7500 liters of clean water and four standpipes.
Postal is in a small scattered villages totaling 28 households with a population of around 91 people, which is typical of the country’s remote settlements or villages.
The Society with the assistance of the villagers used donkeys and horses to transport building materials to a two hour walk up the mountain to the village.
Postola villagers travel around 15 kilometres to Ha-Seshote for health services, schools, mortuary and other essentials. Almost half the distance is inaccessible by any motor vehicle.
Nare indicated that the project which started in September 2017 and ended in March this year at Postola cost M450,000
In addition to the activities mentioned above, several trainings were done to prepare the community for the developments, i.e. WASH Committee training (9 members). The aim of the training was to capacitate the WASH Committee members with knowledge and management of the water system (the water system has to be cleaned and collection of annual subscription fee from the community for maintenance of the system).
Another training conducted was the PHAST Training on hygiene promotion.
The day was marked by a number of activities which including the following; traditional dances presented by old women, horse riding by young boys, speeches by the Member of the LRCS Board Mr Lekhupane Setsane, Secretary General Mr Kopano Masilo, WASH Committee Members, and a lot of entertainment.
Other villages that the project covered around Matsoku area include Mohlehli, Ha-Mosisi, Mosifaneng, Ha-Meno, Sekokoaneng, Mahonyeling, Mongobong and Ha-Ralithebe.
The Project is funded by the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) through Australian Red Cross and the British Red Cross.
The project in the Mokhotlong district covers 17 villages with a population of about 2500 from 500 households.
Red Cross everywhere for everyone