November 22, 2019 Ha-Sekantši – the Community of Ha Sekants’i and Possible Dreams Foundation have partnered with rise – Relationships Inspiring Social Enterprise, a non-profit organization through the support of J. Portelli Projects from Malta in Europe to construct the village’s most needed footbridge. The opening ceremony of Likolobeng footbridge takes place at 11am.
Ha-Sekantši village established in 1925 is located in Maletsunyane Constituency and Makhoalipana Community Council in Maseru district with a population of about 300 people. The bridge will primarily serve a community which resides in Ha-Sekantši and the surrounding villages.
The target group will be the primary school children who have to cross the Likolobeng River to get to school as well as the general community to access health services. The community keeps livestock and relies on subsistence farming to survive but the absence of a bridge has deprived the community from easy access to essential services.
The community has to cross Likolobeng River to access services located in Rapoleboea or Ramabanta. During the rainy season they could not 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.
The footbridge which was largely funded and constructed by J Portelli Projects will enable the community to be connected to essential services.
Furthermore, working together as a community through the “Letsema” approach has not only fostered strong leadership, community ownership and cohesion as well as a positive attitude towards such initiatives but it has also contributed to skills development and skills transfer as the community worked with highly experienced construction engineers and expert builders from Malta.
Possible Dreams Foundation partners with communities and delivers support on activities focusing on capacity building with the purpose of creating a sense of ownership, sustainability, and accountable communities.
rise International 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 as well as getting the volunteers from J Portelli Projects who are very experienced builders to work alongside with 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 Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Roads Directorate Department who also offered oversight of the bridge construction, as they will be taking on the responsibility of maintaining the bridge.
The cost for the construction of the bridge has been funded by Joseph Portelli and his company who said, “We have had an amazing life changing
experience living and working with the Ha Sekants’i community who welcomed us whole heartedly into their village.
It has been a real eye opening experience for my team and we are looking forward to returning to Lesotho and working with rise once again next year to work on another impactful project.” “We would like to thank the Government of Lesotho, the local authorities and everyone involved for making this fantastic experience possible, especially the rise team as well as Possible Dreams Foundation.”
Daniela Gusman, Founder and Director of rise international explains, “We are so happy that Joseph decided to partner with us and chose to support a project in Lesotho this year as part of their social responsibility otherwise this project would not have been possible.
The seven volunteers from J Portelli Projects have not only built the bridge hand-in-hand with the local community but also lived in the community to experience first hand the
challenges that they face on a daily basis, including the two-hour hike up the mountain everyday to get to the village from the river.”
She continues, “This has been a huge learning experience for everyone involved. We hope to be able to organise similar projects such as this one in the future.” Speaking on behalf of the Community, 48 year-old Mr Lithakong explained that “The footbridge will not only benefit us but it will also benefit the future generation and other people from the surrounding villages in Ha- Sekanši”.
He further explained that, “currently we are experiencing heavy rainfall and expect more rain, therefore the construction of this footbridge happened at the right time, because our children will never miss school during the rainy season again. I would also like to thank the partners and funders of this initiative, thank you rise International, Possible Dreams Foundation and J Portelli Projects for this footbridge. It would
never have been there without your continued support to the community of Ha-Sekantši”, he concluded.
Mrs. Moselantja whose husband drowned many years ago in Likolobeng River explained that “I have lost my husband in this river and me contributing by helping in the construction of the footbridge is part of the healing for my loss and we will never experience such incidents again”.
The Honourable Minister of Public Works and Transport commented, “On behalf of the Lesotho Government, I wish to express my gratitude to J Portelli Projects, rise International and Possible Dreams Foundation for making this project possible. The helping hand came at an opportune time as the Country is currently struggling to finance capital projects.”
He continues, “This noble initiative shows the strength of collaboration between the
Government, Private Sector and Non-Governmental Organisations. This also reflects the warm relationship between the people of Malta and the Kingdom of Lesotho.”
This footbridge was a multi-sectorial collaborative effort between the Government of Lesotho, international and local Non-Profit Organizations and the private sector.
We thank the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftainship who provided trucks to transport some of the materials to site, the Ministry of Public Service for providing casual labour to assist on site, and the Ministry of Public Works and Transport who provided technical assistance of design and oversight of the project and will continue to maintain the bridge in the future years to come.
Furthermore, we acknowledge the contribution of the private sector towards the success of this project. Most importantly we will like to thank Cabana Solutions, Lesotho Flour Mills, Lefehlo Pharmacy, Sky Sanitation and Anwary Rite Value for their support.
Lastly, this bridge would not have been possible without the generosity of Joseph Portelli from J Portelli Projects who whole-heartedly supported this project with his construction team, working tirelessly with the community of Ha-Sekantši to make this project achievable and successful.
We give thanks to Justice Kalebe Photography through his images of Ha Sekantsi and Possible Dreams Foundation for continuous awareness raising and coordinating all the partners for the successful implementation of this project. We appreciate all private local companies, private citizens and ministries who pledged and supported this wonderful initiative.
For further information contact:
Possible Dreams Lineo Thato Kalebe E: [email protected] T: 53577497
rise International Mamonaheng Raliile E: [email protected] T: 5616 8478
Justice Kalebe: [email protected] T: 58930100