Maseru Division youth gives blood

June 2, 2014 was the day that the youth of Lesotho Red Cross Society, Maseru Division, held a blood donation day at their premises.

According to one of the youth who donated blood “we are giving the most valuable gift of humanity, blood to those who will need it. We are also showing our peers that its okay to donate blood and they should not be afraid”.

The event was held at the Division grounds after the blood bank invited Maseru Division to form a partnership with them.  The fulfilment was in line with Lesotho Red Cross Society motto of “we help the nation”.

The Red Cross youth was concerned by the continuous appeal by the blood bank on local radio stations asking for people to donate blood. “These appeals made us realise that we, the youth are in fact the most needy of the blood due to our hectic lifestyles”, Youth Chairperson Mr Tsebo Mosoeunyane said.

Present at the event was a local who said he had recently realised the importance of donating blood after he was recently given blood at the hospital. He wondered what would have happened to him had there not been blood at the hospital and maintained he is going to be a blood donor after he is fully recovered.

The induction before the blood donation brought to surface the key issues about whom and when one can donate. It was explained that females should only donate a week before and after their menstruations. The health issue was also mentioned as very important to ensure that blood does save lives and not cause more harm.

The blood bank informed the youth that the blood is tested for HIV and other diseases to ensure that it is not contaminated. It was, however, emphasised it is not mandatory for a donor to be aware of their results but if interested in knowing more they are welcome to do so. “It is important to know your results though”, Tsebo Mosoeunyane added.

Then it was time for business. After donors filled out declaration forms and were screened for weight, iron levels and blood pressure  it was time to give blood. Cameras and phones flashed as everyone wanted to capture the moment . The refreshment provided after donation was a cherry on top.

The process reminded me of a song we used to sing in primary school as a Red Cross member. ‘Ha re fane ka mali ho pholosa sechaba. Mali ke mpho ea botho’. Translated: let us give blood to rescue the nation. Blood is a gift of humanity,” Tsebo said.

The new Maseru Division

During a recent work camp, the Maseru Division youth revamped their offices and the entire courtyard. The pictures below show the old face of the property and the way it looks now.

 

A Child Supported by Lesotho Red Cross Society Represents Children of Lesotho in Ethiopia

By Lebamang Sehloho

Mpho Mokotjo a young girl aged 17 from Ha Konote Thabana Morena in the Mafeteng district (70 km south of the capital city Maseru) represented children of Lesotho in Addis Ababa Ethiopia during the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) Conference recently after she was nominated as a child with impressive abilities by Civil Society Organisations of Lesotho (CSOs).

Mpho is currently completing high school level at Thabana-Morena and is one of the children funded by the Lesotho Red Cross Society Orphans and Vulnerable Children Project and is also a member of the formed kids clubs in the area.

She has become one of the most explicit young girls ever since LRCS started supporting OVCs in her area.  She has learned life skills and psycho-social support activities from her local Kids Clubs.

The Conference where Mpho represented Lesotho children was a forum where    civil society organisation presented their first ever report on their work for children of Lesotho  since the government ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of Children  (ACRWC) in 1999. The Government of Lesotho has developed a number of laws and legal frameworks, policies and mechanisms since the ratification in 1999.

In addition, Lesotho Red Cross Society has established Care Committees that respond to any form of abuse towards children and in turn report them to the relevant stakeholders.  LRCS  OVCs project activities in Mafeteng include the following; education support, material support access to health, psycho-social support among others. The project is funded by the Norwegian Red Cross.

Since the ratification of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of Children  (ACRWC) in 1999 Rights of Children has improved because children are now aware of their Rights and have places where they can report any form of violence and abuse towards them. This year marked the 25th session of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and AU has launched a four year campaign to end child marriage in combination with the 25th anniversary of the Charter.

In addition, Lesotho Red Cross Society youth in Mafeteng Division in association with OVC project supported by Norwegian Red Cross has embarked on a programme called Bokamoso whose main mandate is to eliminate child marriage and advocacy on Child Protection issues mostly in remote areas of Mafeteng. Mpho Mokotjo shall be the ambassador in this programme.

The trip was financially and materially supported by UNICEF  and Sentebele respectively. Mpho was accompanied by the LRCS Project Officer Mr. Lebang Sehloho.

 

LESOTHO RED CROSS SOCIETY ASSISTS OVCs WITH UNIFORMS.

By Khotso Lebona

For the high school children of Lesotho, being able to put on a school uniform can mean the difference between getting an education and having to stay home. A 14-year-old Mamolupe Beleme had already outgrown her uniform and was facing expulsion from school when the Lesotho Red Cross Society stepped in. The Lesotho Red Cross Society through its integrated community home based care (ICHBC) programme recently donated 40 school bags and 40 school uniforms to 20 boys and 20 girls from 33 villages in the Mafeteng district.

The programme has assisted over 240 schoolchildren since 2005, with practical supplies like food, books and uniforms as well as psychosocial support. Mamolupe Beleme expressed her gratitude to Lesotho Red Cross, at the school uniform donation. “My uniform was already well outgrown and I had passed it on to my younger sister,” she said. “I’m glad to have a new uniform so I won’t be expelled from school and can continue to study.” Fellow student, Moekestsi Thaki also expressed his thanks.

“As a gesture of our appreciation for the support we have been receiving from the Lesotho Red Cross Society over the past few years, we are going to work hard, pass our studies and end up at the National University of Lesotho”, he concluded.

Mathakane Hlabane, a guardian from Ha-Mashaile thanked Lesotho Red Cross for the love, care, and support it gives to orphans and vulnerable children. “I can’t imagine how life would be without the assistance we are receiving. I wish I could do more myself, but as I am unemployed, it has been difficult. That is why we are so grateful to the Red Cross.”

The donation event was honoured by the presence of both the chief and the councillor of the area.

The councillor,  Mr.Lekunye Molefi , thanked Lesotho Red Cross and its donors. “I thank them for the hope they are giving these children, what Red Cross has done in past years until today. He assured the community the children would also be assisted after the Red Cross programme was phased out later this year. “These are our children, therefore it is our responsibility to ensure their safety and that they have been properly clothed and have food.”

With the phase out of the programme in December, the focus has also moved to teaching the children to grow vegetables in their own plots, so they can continue to feed themselves. Chief Makotoko Seeiso Bofihla asked the children to show their gratitude by doing well at school and that they should return the favour by helping the needy when they are grownups.

 

Building resilience through sports

Using sports as part of psycho-social support  Thabana Morena, Mafeteng catchment area has found a way of making social cohesion work.

The Lesotho Red Cross Society  Orphans and Vulnerable (OVC) project has collaborated with local teams, soccer couches, chiefs, sports committees, volunteers as well as Ministry of Gender, Sports and Recreation and the community to bring OVC, Young People and the community to support children.

The project holds each month two competitions where local children teams compete for a quarterly roaming trophy in soccer. These competitions have caught the interest of all the community members including local business people who are supportive of the events and assist through giving children soft drinks, when playing against each other in an inclusive setting.

The sports have proved to bring peace among villages; children compete and show sportsmanship by sharing, supporting each other during hard times and when dealing with cases of the lost loved ones. Other children have reported making friends during sporting events.

“Since I joined the Red Cross soccer teams and trained with our coach I have became a better player and I was enlisted among good players at school. This has made me proud and I now approach life positively than before when I was shy and withdrawn. Many of my class mates and other students look up to me as I also play for my home team. My class teacher is very supportive and helps me to improve my mathematics grades, I am very happy for joining the Red Cross, and I look forward to being a First Aider so that I can assist people and players.  (Words of Thabiso 14 year old middle-fielder)