The 2024 Young Mother Program

The 2024 Young Mother Program

Our Young Mother Support Program empowers adolescent girls and young women facing the challenges of early motherhood. By fostering profound physical and emotional changes, the program boosts self-esteem and resilience among participants. Young mothers learn to confidently embrace their bodies and challenges, transitioning from feeling guarded to feeling open and supported. The program equips them to make informed decisions and support each other by nurturing and strengthening motherhood in their community!

Help Lesotho’s program not only supports young mothers but also benefits their children, both now and in the future. These children will grow up with mothers who are advocates for their rights, exemplify healthy relationships, value education, make informed decisions, and view parenting as a privilege.

young mother 2023 program stats

In the Community

girlfce performance at pitseng
kate and the young mother program

(Above, left) A group of young mothers and grandmothers come together to watch a GIRL4ce performance. (Above, right) Executive Director, Kate Lambert snaps a photo with a group of young mothers from the Pitseng Centre, while on a recent trip to Lesotho.

Stories of Hope

Matsepo

Matsepo Matsepo is a participant in the Pitseng Young Mother program. She has faced significant challenges since the birth of her son, Teboho, who has spina bifida. It was only when Teboho was born that they learned of his disability. It was a very scary time, one that Matsepo still hasn’t fully recovered from. She is grateful that Teboho is now five years old, although his future is still uncertain. Matsepo carries him everywhere, which is manageable for now due to his small size. Matsepo is a strong advocate for her son and has become an empowered young woman through her participation in the program.

Although she faces discrimination due to her son’s disability from community members, Matsepo has found a supportive network of other young mothers who help her navigate her challenges and lift her up. She knows she needs to surround herself with people who will help her stay strong for her child. She looks forward to each program session she attends because she always leaves feeling refreshed.

“We are learning to build ourselves, not just to depend on someone else. We are learning how to raise our kids in the right way.”

Mamatebele

Mamatebele joined Help Lesotho’s Young Mother Program in 2019, the same year her daughter was born. Today, her daughter is thriving at five years old. Mamatebele and her husband are farmers who rely on their yields to both feed their family and generate a small income. Life is challenging, but they are happy. They plan to welcome another child in the next couple of years – a conversation that would not have happened prior to Mamatebele’s participation in the Young Mother Program. 

Beyond caring for her family, Mamatebele currently volunteers as a tutor with Help Lesotho’s Smart Kids program. She takes great pride in her role and the positive impact she has on the children, expressing, “We are doing so many things with them to make them happy, that is my duty.”

Meet the 2024 Grandmother Program

Meet the 2024 Grandmother Program

Help Lesotho’s Grandmother Support Program operates on a two-year cycle, touching the lives of 200 grandmothers in each cohort. These resilient women face a myriad of challenges, from poverty and gender-based violence to the profound grief of loss, often while caring for children whose parents are either deceased or away for work. Your donations provide essential support, empowering these grandmothers to nurture and raise these children with love and care. Thank you for your generosity!

Nkhono Maselepe, 50

Nkhono Maselepe is among the youngest members of the Lichecheng grandmother group. She is the primary caregiver for three of her grandchildren, including her 10- month-old grandson (pictured), while her daughter looks for work in South Africa. Her son-in-law is presumed deceased after a mining accident.

Despite the challenges, Maselepe feels she is managing well, particularly with the aid of food relief parcels that have “made a huge difference.” She looks forward to the continuous positive impact of the sessions she attends.

Nkhono Maselepe

“Grief and loss topic was difficult. I was remembering so many people – my husband, my son-in-law.”

Nkhono Mateka

Nkhono Malintja

Nkhono Malintja finds great inspiration and support in Help Lesotho’s Grandmother Program, relishing her visits to the Pitseng Centre where she connects with other women. She takes care of four grandchildren, including two-year-old Litsoanelo, whom she often brings to training sessions, comfortably strapped to her back. For Malintja, these gatherings are more than educational; they are a vital source of community and support as she navigates the responsibilities of caring for her grandchildren.

“I love this program!” she says. 

Nkhono Masaietsa, 84

Nkhono Masaietsa’s journey is a testament to resilience. Despite facing immense loss (7 of her 10 children have passed away), she remains a primary caregiver and supportive role model for 4 of her grandchildren. She loves coming to the Grandmother Program sessions and being around other women who are facing similar situations to hers.


“I feel so supported now. I am telling [others] everything I can about the things I learn here,” she says.

Nkhono Masaietsa
Sponsor a student, change a life!

Sponsor a student, change a life!

Almost 2000 students in Lesotho have received sponsorship for their high school education through Help Lesotho’s Student Sponsorship Program. High school poses a myriad of challenges for any student, yet in Lesotho, a many are either a single or double orphaned and from impoverished families, intensifying the hurdles they face in completing their education. Below are some examples of how Student Sponsorship can positively affect the life of an individual both while going to school and into the future!

past child sponsorship participant, Tlotlisang

Tlotlisang, Child Sponsorship Program

 “I have just completed my bachelor of pharmacy (Honours) from the National University of Lesotho (NUL) and secured myself a job as a pharmacist, those are my biggest achievements. I have always been a big dreamer and when I got sponsored, I did not take the opportunity lightly and did my best in my academic performance. This is one in a million opportunity, it’s life changing. As a CSP alumni I hope those who come after me understand how blessed they are to be part of this loving family; Help Lesotho. I hope they work harder to secure themselves a bright future. I still want to further my studies in medicine.” 

Hlampola, sponsored student

Hlampola, 17

Hlampola is a determined 17-year-old recent graduate of Khethisa High School. Before sponsorship, Hlampolo was constantly worried about how he would cover his school fees. Cared for primarily by his grandparents, Hlampola’s family was only able to contribute very little towards his education.

Thanks to your donation to pay his exam fees, Hlampola was able to stop worrying about paying his school fees and instead used his energy on studying. He is so grateful that your support enabled him to finish his studies.

Hlampola now has a bright student with dreams of attending college and pursuing medical studies in South Africa.

Libuseng, 17

Libuseng is on the path to success! After recently graduating from Khethisa High School, she is an example of what hard work and persistence can accomplish. Libuseng’s dedication to her studies is evident in her academic achievements, as she secured an impressive 4th position in the final exams!

It is because of your support that this bright, young student was able to graduate. As Libuseng has been raised by a single mother, coming up with the school fees to graduate would have been impossible for her.

Libuseng dreams of pursuing a career in chemical engineering with a focus on mining.

Libuseng, sponsored student
Change-makers who are shaping the future!

Change-makers who are shaping the future!

With over 55,000 graduates of our programs to date, there are so many amazing stories to be told about how Help Lesotho has impacted lives in the years after participants have attended our programs. Below you will read some long-term voices of impact from change-makers re-shaping the future!

Maphake, Herd Boy Program

I am currently working as a security guard at a well-known company in Maputsoe. The Help Lesotho sessions have given me the courage to apply for the job post given that I was a mere herd-boy. I have worked on controlling my temper which has helped me to excel in my work.”

Herd boys (aka shepherds) live isolated lives in the mountains of Lesotho. Through Help Lesotho’s 6-month program, the young men (like Mahake) reconnect to their communities and empowered as leaders for protecting girls and women.

Nkametso, Young Mother Support Program

I remember my first experience in an interview where I responded with reference from the self-esteem session, HIV/AIDS and income generating activity. I got the job and I worked at charity foundation for three years.  I was inspired to go back to school, It was not an easy journey because I my child was a burden to my parents but since I am resilient I was able to start a small income generating business at school to meet my child’s needs. I have finally graduated. My advice to other young mothers is that they should not lose hope, it is just the beginning of their lives not the end. They are yet to achieve many things in their lives only if they work hard at it.” 

Berea Grandmothers are stronger together!

A group of ten grandmothers who formed a support group during their time in Help Lesotho’s Grandmother Program a couple years ago have been operating a group savings program for themselves. In November, they made a bulk purchase of 30 large bags of fertilizer with their savings.

Each grandmother received three bags to nourish their crops and improve their yields. On the day the fertilizer was delivered to their village, the grandmothers dressed in their nicest seshoeshoe dresses to mark the occasion (they knew they would be sending a photo to share with all of you!). They are incredibly proud of themselves!

berea grandmothers and their fertilizer

Mokheseng, Smart Kids Program Facilitator

I have more than two years volunteering in the program which is my greatest pride. My self-esteem is boosted from regularly standing in front of my group of adolescents whom I offer academic support to. I am currently a health counsellor and I enjoy conducting group sessions mostly because the Smart Kids Program equipped me with public speaking skills.

past child sponsorship participant, Tlotlisang

Tlotlisang, Child Sponsorship Program

 “I have just completed my bachelor of pharmacy (Honours) from the National University of Lesotho (NUL) and secured myself a job as a pharmacist, those are my biggest achievements. I have always been a big dreamer and when I got sponsored, I did not take the opportunity lightly and did my best in my academic performance. This is one in a million opportunity, it’s life changing. As a CSP alumni I hope those who come after me understand how blessed they are to be part of this loving family; Help Lesotho. I hope they work harder to secure themselves a bright future. I still want to further my studies in medicine.” 

Mantlobo, Safer Communities Project

As a teacher in my community, I took a stand against child abuse where I have been disseminating information about Gender-Based Violence. The trainings have enhanced my ability to boldly advocate for children’s right and help me address harmful practices that deprive children from reaching their utmost potential. More parents are starting to understand the importance of their children staying in school. Thus far, I have been able to refer 39 students to the Ministry of Social Development and St. Charles High school where they will be starting their grade 8. In 2024, I hope to form a support group that will be further address GBV related issues.

Masefora, Safer Communities Project

After attending the safer communities training, community members entrust me with addressing conflicts in household setting and assisting with effective referrals. This has improved the livelihoods of women and children due to increased rates of GBV cases being reported and offering support to the victims. My work here is still not done, we have a long way to go but I’m grateful to Help Lesotho for empowering me and equipping me with relevant set of skills.

High School After the Pearl Program

High School After the Pearl Program

We recently caught up with a couple Pearl Girls who completed the Pearl Program a few years ago. These girls are now nearly finished their high school education. Read on to see how the program has made an impact in their lives and helped them to navigate high school with confidence and success.

16-year-old SEBOPEHO is in grade 11, the final year of high school in Lesotho. She completed the Pearl Program back in 2019. Sebopeho lives with her mother and three brothers. Her mother is not working, but her older brother is an accountant and is able to help support the family. When she was in grade 10, Sebopeho started dreaming of becoming a doctor when she grows up because she loves biology.

Sebopeho, pearl girl

Looking back at when she started high school, Sebopeho does not hesitate to say that peer pressure was the biggest challenge. Everywhere she looked she could see students being negatively influenced by others. Some are no longer attending school because they did not keep their grades up. For Sebopeho, she decided to avoid making close friends in the first couple years of high school. She was friendly with people, but did not want anyone to have too much influence over her. Now she has wonderful friends whom she fully trusts. She knows what good friendships look like and she isn’t willing to accept anything less. The same goes for finding a boyfriend – although Sebopeho hasn’t found someone who is a good match for her yet.

She said, “I see my friends having so many boyfriends, but they hurt them so much. I don’t want that.”

Sebopeho maintained friendships with fellow Pearl Girls from her session. Even though they go to several different schools, they are still able to support one another; “We like to help each other”.

A quiet leader with a bright smile, Sebopeho stands up against peer-pressure and bullying in her school and has become a trusted confidant among other young girls in her school and community. “The Pearl Program helped so much. There are so many challenges, especially for girls. I get to help others now.” She shared an example of a girl being bullied for being at the top of her class. Other students were taking her books and making fun of her for performing well. Sebopeho befriended the girl and supported her to keep her head up. They are now friends who rely on one another to have each others’ backs.

“In my village there are so many children who are not going to school. I see everyday what I would be doing if I didn’t have this opportunity.”

At just 16-years-old, grade 10 student MEISI is already a strong leader amongst her peers. She was orphaned at just eight-years old and has survived thanks to the support of her grandmother. After completing the Pearl Program in 2020, she began her high school education with confidence. “I was a really shy person but being at Help Lesotho really helped me.”

Reflecting on her time as a Pearl Girl and Pearl Mentor, Meisi shared, “Before I was stressed to say anything wrong. But being a Pearl Girl and Mentor helped me learn to talk and share ideas. Now I join everything and have things to say.” She went on to say, “I was always being told I am unique, just like unique pearl stones. I learned self-esteem and human rights. It really helped me be a leader. Next year I will be head girl at my school. Teachers could see my self-esteem so they chose me. I’m open with other people.”

Meisi, past pearl girl

Being promoted as ‘head girl’ at her school is a tremendous accomplishment. The position is nominated by students who select the person they feel best represents the student body. As head girl, Meisi will be a link between teachers and students. She will motivate and encourage students to work hard and dedicate themselves to their studies.

Meisi is putting what she learned from the Pearl Program into action every day. She has overcome so much to get to where she is today, and she knows she still has a long way to go to figure out her future, especially without parents to support and guide her along the way. It is astonishing that she has the capacity to support and motivate other students the way she is. There is no doubt that Meisi has a bright future ahead!

For more information about the Pearl Program, or to shop Pearls4Girls jewelry, click here.

Mats’epo’s Story

Mats’epo’s Story

Through Help Lesotho’s Young Mother Program, participants receive ‘Starter Packs’ to help them with the initial investment needed to launch small businesses. As much as these young mothers try to find jobs elsewhere, the high degree of unemployment in the country makes for an incredibly competitive job market. Additionally, most young mothers need significant flexibility in their work in order to care for their children. The young mothers find that being self-employed is the ideal scenario for them, even though it is not an easy road to success.

Along with the start-up funding for their small businesses, the young mothers are trained on budgeting, inventory management, marketing, and customer relations. While not all young mothers are able to sustain their businesses, this model remains an effective way to give young mothers the option to build a business, or to use their initial profits to meet urgent needs within their families.

One young mother, Mats’epo, used her Starter Pack to buy simbas (peanuts), biscuits, eggs, sweets and match sticks. She selected her starter pack products based on what is in demand in her local community. Many people in her community had to walk a long distance to get the products she is selling, so she knew the demand would be there as people would find it more convenient to buy from her. She made use of her profits to open a salon which is right next to her shop where she sells her starter pack products. Mats’epo says her success is attributed to her business strategy. She invests her profits back into the business to make sure that it keeps growing, and keeps thorough records of all her transactions. In the future, she hopes to learn more about bookkeeping and how she can better manage multiple business operations. She is currently looking into making jewelry with beads and believes that it is going to be a success!

Young mother in Lesotho working as a hairdresser

“The starter pack enabled me to meet different needs such as food as well as my family’s needs. I found the starter pack helpful because it enabled me to buy shoes for my child. At some point, I was struggling to buy shoes for her and other basic things.

The Young Mother Program as a whole has made me more aware of the areas I was failing in my relationship with my husband. We used to have some conflict but now I know how to handle that. Another important thing was getting tested for HIV. At first I was afraid to know my status but now I don’t have a problem going for testing. I also learned about contraception and now I know how to use contraception properly.

My business skills have also improved. As you can see, I started off with the starter pack but now I also have a salon which is doing well. It’s almost Christmas and there are many people who are going to be coming to get their hair done. I am also going to buy some beads next week so that I can start making jewelry that I will be selling to women who are going to come in the salon. The business is going to grow and do well and I thank Help Lesotho for everything.”

Mats'epo