Historical and life changing Sod Turning event in Ha Sekantši

PS Public Service - Mr Tseliso Lesenya, Deputy Minister Local Government and Chieftainship - Hon Kotiti Lawson Diholo and community members with PS Social Development - Adv Mole Khumalo dancing in celebration (Image Supplied)

The Community of Ha Sekantši has partnered with Possible Dreams Foundation and rise – Relationships Inspiring Social Enterprise, a non-profit organisation through the support of J Portelli Projects a development company from Malta to construct the village’s most needed footbridge.

Ha Sekantši village established in 1925/26 is located in Maletsunyane Constituency and Makhoalipana Community Council in Maseru district with a population of less than 300 people. The bridge will primarily serve a community which resides at Ha Sekantši and the surrounding villages.

The target group will be the primary school children, who have to cross the Likolobeng River to access Rapoleboea Primary School and St. Odilon, as well as the general community to access health services. The school, which is a Government sponsored school, is located in Rapoleboea which is a two-hour walk away.

The community keeps livestock and relies on subsistence farming to survive but lack of access to schools, health centres and no access to roads has deprived the community access to essential services. Although there is access to clean water and sanitation, the community is faced with a huge challenge of children travelling more than two hours to school and community members travelling long distances to clinics. The community has to cross the Likolobeng River to access these services located in Rapoleboea or Ramabanta.

During the rainy and snowy seasons they cannot access any services due to the lack of a footbridge and proper roads, leading to a high rate of school drop-outs, early child marriages and home deliveries for pregnant mothers, which often result in maternal and child mortality.

Possible Dreams Foundation is currently led by the Kalebe’s family with a mission to empower and strengthen the community of Ha Sekantši to solve their own problems through collective actions and meaningful community participation so as to create a sense of community ownership and accountability.

Possible Dreams Foundation’s vision is to have sustained wellbeing of communities such as Ha Sekantši, where they all have access to basic services, human rights, their dignity is respected and have the ability to take ownership of projects and make informed decisions when it comes to socio-economic developments.

rise  focuses  on  economic  development  through  job  creation  and  skills  development in the built environment  through a practical “learning by doing” design, build & entrepreneurship  fellowship programme. Thus the construction of the footbridge is also helping tackle the problem of access to essential services and also getting international volunteers to work along the community and other interested Basotho in sharing skills in construction.

The survey and design of the footbridge was done by the Government of Lesotho through the Ministry of Public Works (Roads Directorate Department) and the costs for the construction of the Bridge is being funded by J Portelli Projects a developer company based in Malta, in the hope that other local companies from Lesotho will also support this project. Joe Portelli, the CEO of J Portelli Projects said, “We are pleased to be assisting the village of Ha Sekantši in building the much-needed footbridge. The team is mostly looking forward to meeting the community in Ha Sekantši. Together, we will achieve a project that will benefit the entire society for generations to come.”

Daniela Gusman, Founder and Director of rise international explains, “As I am originally from the small island of Malta, I am very happy to be welcoming a second cohort of Maltese professionals to Lesotho, following last year’s group who came to Lesotho to give a two-week computer training and donated laptops for an orphanage we partnered with in Sekamaneng called God’s Love Centre. This year we are really pleased that J Portelli Projects have chosen Lesotho as their country of choice, since they have been going to Ethiopia for the past few years.”

She continues, “Capacity building is really important in the work that we do at rise, therefore J Portelli Projects’ skilled team will be working very closely with the Ha Sekantši community while building the bridge so as to ensure skills transfer and sustainability of the project.  Partnering with the Government of Lesotho is also key to ensure that the bridge is maintained in the long run.”

Speaking on behalf of the Community, an 86 year-old and retired teacher Mr. Motlatsi Khanyapa says “We are very excited about this partnership with rise, Possible Dreams Foundation and J Portelli for the construction of this most needed footbridge as our community have waited for many years. We hope that as construction continues local companies and private citizens will further donate funds and materials towards this historic project in Ha Sekantši. It is also heartwarming and necessary in our village to see witness this milestone project.”

rise’s Founder, Daniela Gusman comments, “The footbridge is one phase of a holistic approach we are taking in rural community development. The other two phases are economic development through a sewing and craft making project which the community started back in June and the third and final phase, which we hope will take place next year subject to funding, will be the construction of a much needed community learning centre for the out-of-school youth as well as for the adult community of Ha Sekantši.”

The Deputy Minister of Local Government, Hon. Kotiti Diholo says, “We as Local Government support this initiative and our Makhoalipana A10 Council is already involved on the ground to ensure that this milestone project is successful and encourage everyone to get involved so that even the future generation can point confidently at this historic footbridge. I also edge other government ministries to get involved until this project is completed.”

We give thanks to Justice Kalebe, the local photographer for continuing to raise awareness through his images of Ha Sekantši and looking forward to companies and individuals pledging towards this wonderful initiative.

For further information contact: Justice Kalebe: [email protected] T: 5893 0100