Help Lesotho is a non-profit organization registered in both Canada and Lesotho that
delivers grassroots mental health support and training programs in
rural communities in Southern Africa battling the impacts of AIDS,
poverty, unemployment and gender-inequity.
Our vision is that:
Youth of Lesotho to have the agency and resilience
to create healthy and self-sustaining futures.
We are committed to excellence in everything we do!
We can and will tell you exactly where your donations go and why. We proudly maintain our Imagine Canada Accreditation annually in recognition of our exceptional accountability and transparency.
– See our Financials –
Our programs are funded by a combination of donor support (individuals, businesses, schools, churches, corporations and community groups) and international funders. We have raised over $23,000,000 CAD without government support. Every dollar is appreciated and maximized in Lesotho!
All programs and approaches are developed and delivered in consultation with civil society organizations, local community leaders, chiefs, government ministries, police, and health workers.
The King and Queen of Lesotho are longstanding supporters and advocates.
Help Lesotho’s programs are delivered by an all-local team of highly trained staff who are deeply committed to the beneficiaries they serve. A small Canadian staff supports their efforts. 80% of staff are female.
Sustainable capacity building
Nearly all Help Lesotho staff are graduates of Help Lesotho programs. Our professional internship program rigorously trains and capacitates these talented young people as they specialize in supporting specific populations and topics. Our interns grow into compassionate, all-star employees and leaders for our organization or other employment opportunities across the country.
We always prioritize locally-defined needs over funder-driven agendas. We work in rural, mountainous communities that are difficult to reach because that is where the needs are greatest. We are committed to long-term support so participants and communities have the time to build their resilience and initiate behavior change. We do not support band-aid solutions.
What others say about us
“I can honestly say that being involved with Help Lesotho has been one of the biggest pleasures of my life.” – John Graham
“I believe wholeheartedly that the programs really make a difference in the lives of those choosing to be a part of them, both donors and recipients. It’s a win/win organization.” – Trudy Bennett
“I support Help Lesotho because I know exactly where my money is going and how it is benefiting the people of Lesotho. Plus I have met the staff and they are extraordinary.” – Jean McNabb
“Help Lesotho is reaching the grass roots level in Lesotho and they impact many, many people”. – Hugh Dorward
“The part I like most about Help Lesotho is that they focus on what is needed the most: empowerment of girls and battle against gender based violence.” – George Monese
“I know the support will be maximised to help people most in need in ways that are most beneficial for short and long term benefits.” – Sheryl Selwyn
“I appreciate knowing that the money is actually going to those who need it and not to a bureaucracy.” – R.J. Birnbaum
“Help Lesotho supports people in a deep and life-changing way, and not in a short-term, superficial way. It empowers people and gives them strength and new skills to navigate through life.” – Patty Freeman
“It’s great to receive “real-time” updates about programs; the specific features on individuals, seeing updates directly from staff – it is clear the work is really being done!” – Taylor Holmes
Leading the team
Julia Thompson has more than 25 years’ experience working in international development across three continents; in education and capacity building, and as a professional responsible for program delivery and financial oversight.
As the first CEO of Common Purpose South Africa, a leadership NGO, programs brought together senior decision makers from across the sectors to experience capacity building and thought leadership on issues as ranging and critical as social and restorative justice, and gender and environmental change.
Prior to this Julia worked with land claiming communities in South Africa with TRAC (the Rural Action Committee), and led organisational development and facilitation work with women’s organizations and the co-operative movement in South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Managing for years, the International Program for Development Evaluation Training (IPDET), a complex and flagship training initiative of the World Bank and Carleton University, Julia led the program administration and delivery.
Julia has an MSc in Social Policy and Planning from the London School of Economics and an honours BA in International Development Studies from University of Toronto. She lives in Ottawa, Canada and is a proud mother of her son.
‘Mamoletsane is an experienced development worker with expertise in program development, program implementation, fundraising, monitoring and evaluation and capacity building of different vulnerable groups including adolescents, women and girls.
She has worked in various countries and settings to ensure effective advocacy strategies with active participation of community members, especially women, partner CBOs, NGOs, government authorities and other stakeholders.
She is a strong program and project management professional with a BA in Public Administration and Sociology from the National University of Lesotho and is completing a Masters in Development from the University of Free State (Bloemfontein, RSA) with a dissertation on Forced and Early Female Marriage in Eastern Zambia.
- Kathleen Lauder
- Bill Austin
- Margie Hooper
- Zaida Bastos
- Dave Johnston
- Mary Dawson
- John McLaughlin
- Susan Richardson
- Amy Weber
Kathleen Lauder is now retired and living in the Gatineau Hills, 30 minutes from Ottawa, Canada. Kathleen’s career has been primarily in the area of Governance and International Development. She has worked for consulting firms and international development organizations, but the majority of her career was spent as a Director responsible for International Development with the Institute On Governance, based in Ottawa, Canada. Kathleen lived and worked in Malaysia for 7 years where she led a project aimed at strengthening governance in the ASEAN countries. Most recently she was the Country Director for World Renew based in Cambodia. During her 6 years in Cambodia Kathleen provided leadership to local staff and local partners to empower poor and vulnerable populations in rural communities to manage their social and economic development. Kathleen has been involved as a donor and volunteer with Help Lesotho since its inception. This brought her to Lesotho twice in its early years. She has great admiration for Help Lesotho’s sustainable, relevant and effective approaches to meeting the development challenges in Lesotho.
Bill Austin held various senior executive positions in the Government of Canada including Assistant Secretary at the Treasury Board Secretariat and Assistant Deputy Minister, Claims and Indian Government at Indian and Northern Affairs. Since his retirement the Public Service in 2006, Bill was appointed Chair of two Departmental Audit Committees at Natural Resources Canada and Public Safety Canada. He was Executive Director for the taskforce examining Governance and Cultural Change in the RCMP and participated in two OECD missions examining governance in Poland and the UAE. Bill holds a degree in Business Administration from the University of Ottawa. His volunteer activities include being a board member of an organization supporting second stage housing for battered women and their children. He is keen to be involved with Help Lesotho and to contribute to the organization.
Co-Chair, HR Committee
Margie Hooper is the Broker General Manager of RE/MAX Hallmark in Ottawa. After her BA from Carleton University, Margie worked at the Canadian Security Establishment, had four children and lived in Toronto and Halifax before returning to Ottawa to begin careers in real estate. With her husband Jeff, Margie opened KWO in 2001, now RE/MAX Hallmark in Ottawa, the largest real estate office in Ottawa. Since 2008, Jeff and Margie have embraced the opportunity to support Help Lesotho both financially and by providing office space at their Bronson location. For Margie the presence of Help Lesotho in the workplace has enriching! Seeing the dedicated people involved this wonderful charity has been motivating. Margie is delighted and honoured to join the board of Help Lesotho.
Chair, Program Committee
Zaida Bastos has more than 35 years of experience in international development in Africa, Asia and Latin America. She is the Development Partnerships Program Director at the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund. She was previously the Executive Director of the Working Group on Refugee Resettlement (WGRR) in Toronto. WGRR worked with the UNHCR, Canada Immigration and other agencies to resettle refugees at risk in Canada. Zaida also worked at UNESCO in Paris and the UNDP in Angola.
Zaida’s work expertise is in community development; gender equality; organizational development; and planning, monitoring and evaluation of projects. Zaida is also a published writer.
Zaida is pleased to join the Help Lesotho board to contribute to good development in Lesotho that benefits thousands of people.
Chair, Finance & Audit Committee
Dave is a retired Chartered Accountant living in Ottawa. His professional career was largely in the private sector helping business’s meet and exceed their financial goals and supporting and mentoring global business leaders and multinational finance teams. His latter career branched into business development, marketing and sales positions. Dave served six years as Director of Finance and Auditing on the Board of the Ottawa Hunt Club. After learning of the impressive work of Help Lesotho and its positive impact for the Basotho people, Dave was delighted to join the Help Lesotho Board as Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee. He very much enjoys meeting our donors and engaging in ever more ways to contribute.
Chair, Governance Committee
Mary Dawson has been the Conflict and Ethics Commissioner since 2007. She retired from the Department of Justice in 2005, having held the position of Associate Deputy Minister since 1988. She held leading roles in the area of legislative drafting, public law and constitutional law. Mary has been involved in a number of international activities, including an executive position in the International Bar Association. On the local community level, she has served on the Ottawa Hospital Board from 2006 to 2014 and as an Adjunct Governor of the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre in 2014-2015. She is a strong supporter of theatre. Mary holds degrees from three Canadian universities, was made a Queen’s Counsel in 1978 and was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 2007. Mary is keen on her work with Help Lesotho. She is particularly impressed with the low overhead in the administration and the dedication of those involved in this enterprise as well as the emphasis on helping girls and women.
John McLaughlin, a retired deputy minister for New Brunswick’s Department of Education & Early Childhood Development, is President and CEO of Atlantic Education International. He previously served as a school superintendent in Northern New Brunswick. He was recently Co-Commissioner of NB’s review of its Official Language Act, and has also represented Canada on two high level OECD education related committees.
With a passion for Global Citizenship initiatives, he has long been a champion of Help Lesotho in his province, and is honoured to join the Board of Directors.
He and his wife, Cathy, have four grown daughters and five grandchildren, and they reside in Bathurst.
Susan has extensive senior executive experience with over 30 years experience in the information technology, insurance, finance and software industries. Her diverse areas of focus include; sales, operations, professional services, business development and customer service. She also brings extensive coaching experience in Financial Services, Capital Markets and advancement of women.
Susan’s career is built with a strong people and management foundation with 14 years experience at IBM. She has applied this to the fast paced world of two start-up organizations which culminated in the executive position of a North American Professional Services and Customer Care organization at a large software firm. In addition to her business interests, Susan is active in the not-for profit community. She has vast board experience in the areas of strategic planning, communications, governance, development, leadership and fund raising.
Thanks to RE/MAX Hallmark,
the Canadian office (Ottawa, ON) is rent-free!
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