By Sma Phethoka

At least 300 orphans and vulnerable children received food items from Lesotho Red Cross Society LRCS) recently at its Health Centre at Kena in the Maseru district.

When handing over the food items, the Secretary General of the Society Mr Kopano Masilo said “It has been eight years (since 2012) since the Society started providing food items, educational materials such as uniform, books and others.  We have also built a preschool here because we were concerned that some of these children whose parents have passed on or are working will have no one to take care of them during the day.”

“We are thankful to the Kena Community for trusting us with these children and for supporting the project from its inception” the SG added.

He appealed to the children to continue going to school so they become great leaders in the future.

According to one parent Mrs. Mathabo Marite, LRCS has been paying school fees, buying school uniform as well as providing food for the children. “if it were not of the Red Cross our children would have dropped out of school and boys would be shepherding. We are happy that some of the children had completed their studies successfully”, she added.

Mammako Motseki, a 13-year-old beneficiary expressed her gratitude for receiving the gifts and that the Society had brought hope into her life.

On the other hand, Chief Matheatlala Shoaepane urged that parents and guardians should use those items for the children and nothing else. He also appealed to criminals to never break into beneficiaries’ houses to take what does not belong to them, and that they will also one day be remembered.

“I am thankful that my community Kena was chosen to be the beneficiary of this project by the Red Cross. It has brought hope and assurance that these children will be leaders of tomorrow,” Shoaepane added.

The project which is funded by LARS Amundson Foundation through the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has assisted OVCs, including Child Headed Families.

On the other hand, LRCS OVCs Project Officer Ms. Ntho Mokone emphasized that    beneficiaries benefited from LRCS through LARS project whereby they received food parcels consisting of 25Kg maize Meal,  25Kg of bread floor, six pack of tined fish, six pack of beef, soup, Six pack of 1Litres Milk, 2litres of cooking oil, 2Kg sugar, yeast, 1lire Drink, 1kg Split peas, tea, sanitary pads, (for about two years), hygiene pack consisting of 2Kg washing powder, makhaleng petroleum jelly, roll-on, toilet paper, face towels ,shoe polish, shoe brushes, tooth paste also toothbrushes.

“The sole purpose of this project is to improve and change lives of orphans and vulnerable children.  “The Society assists children of ages up to eighteen,” Mokone emphasized

The objective of the project is to improve the quality of life for orphans and vulnerable children infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.

This is done through addressing the physical, psychological, emotional and material needs of the children by providing them with integrated community home based care and support.