The British Minister for Africa, Vicky Ford visits Seboka Primary School in Ha Matala on September 30, 2021. The British High Commission in Lesotho sponsored two boreholes which have been installed at Seboka and Lithabaneng Primary Schools as part of the 5 Hub Schools project by Action Ireland Trust (AIT), in collaboration with rise international and the Ministry of Education and Training. This project takes a holistic approach as it engages School Boards, Teachers, Parents, Learners and the surrounding communities where running water toilets, school kitchens, rain water harvesting facilities and food gardens for 5 schools in the Lithabaneng area (namely Seboka, Makoanyane, Leqele, Lithabaneng Primary Schools and Lithabaneng High School) are currently being built. The focus is to develop resources and facilities in conjunction with developing personal skills through teaching and learning.
The boreholes, together with the rain water harvesting systems will now provide a regular flow of clean running water to the schools, facilitating general good hygiene and frequent handwashing amongst learners and the schools’ community.
“Lithabaneng Primary did not have regular water supply since 2009, the water company cut our water supply due to our inability to pay the high water bill. Since then, we struggled to get water for drinking, cooking and cleaning, we could not even water our crops. As a result, sanitation was our biggest challenge especially when COVID-19 began. Our challenges regarding water are finally over. We are extremely grateful to the British High Commission in Lesotho for making our lives better by funding the borehole in our school” said Mr David Ralebese, Principal of Lithabaneng Primary School.
In a continued effort to make impact in the lives of Basotho, the British High Commission is also hosting and facilitating community workshops on COVID-19 awareness in Lesotho. The British Minister for Africa Vicky Ford upon her visit stated – “It was a pleasure to come to Seboka Primary School and see the excellent work being done by rise with the support of the British High Commission in Lesotho.” She explained that the installation of the boreholes at Seboka, and at Lithabaneg would ensure running water, safer toilets and a place for the children to wash their hands. And further stated that “Community-level projects like this one have helped make a difference to those who have learnt how to protect themselves during the pandemic, alongside the important vaccinations that are being rolled out here in Lesotho”
Through the 5 Hub Schools project, WASH (Water And Sanitation & Hygiene) Clubs have been established in the schools where teachers and local activists are teaching water conservation & harvesting, sanitation and life skills while using the mediums of art, music, poetry and computers to positively engage learners. These clubs are supported and encouraged virtually by AIT with the hope of renewed physical support post COVID-19 lockdowns.
AIT is an Irish charity that provides skills exchange programmes in Education, Healthcare, Information Technology, Planning and Development, Architecture, Construction, Agriculture, Sport and Recreation. “We are very grateful to the British High Commission for providing M129,000 for the installation of two boreholes. The water provided will help establish a model school environment which will then hopefully be replicated throughout Lesotho along with the Child Friendly Schools concept which is free from corporal punishment, engages parents daily and follows a child- centred approach. Over 200 targeted learners between 9 and 14 years of age are now attending the 5 WASH Clubs while all 5 Hub Schools are implementing the Child Friendly Schools concept. Lastly, we are thankful to all our partners, the Quinn Family Foundation for their sponsorship, and the Principals of the 5 schools for all their tireless work in the progression of this project.”
Daniela Gusman, the Founder of rise international stated that, “We are delighted to welcome the Honorable Minister Ford to the 5 Hub Schools Project today. rise is very proud to be the implementing partner of this project which aligns perfectly with our core values of community driven development and social enterprise.” She went on to say that, “Most schools in Lesotho lack the funds to install the infrastructure that they need to create healthy environments for learners, so we are happy that these particular schools are acquiring these vital facilities. Access to clean water is a human right. Sanitation facilities, especially in schools with over 900 learners each, are essential for children to have dignified and hygienic facilities which also means the girls no longer have to miss a week a month from school during their menstruation.”
rise international is a non-profit social enterprise, working towards a world where sustainable social enterprises, created by local entrepreneurs from low income countries, are the norm. rise has been piloting an innovative learning-by-doing programme in Lesotho called in loco since 2017 with a view to expand to other African countries in the future.
Through their professional network, rise links aspiring social entrepreneurs to fundamental resources in order to fulfil their potential. www.riseint.org
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About Action Ireland Trust
Since 2007 Action Ireland Trust have brought nearly 600 transition year students from Portmarnock Community School, Ireland to Africa as part of their Transition Year Programme. Amongst other things, in 2012 they commenced a project at Ha Hlalele High School which has seen a major expansion of classrooms, science lab, kitchen, administration block, toilets, the introduction of the UNICEF WASH and Child Friendly Schools (CFS) Programmes. Their educational training programme reaches out to over 275 teachers and 10,000 learners in Lesotho and continues to support 6 women’s co-operations who are manufacturing and selling school uniforms, table cloths, sheets and tourism memorabilia.
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