Tsita’s Story

Tsita’s Story

When Tsita finished primary school, his family could not afford the high school fees, so he became a herd boy, looking after cattle and sheep up in the high mountains.

From the age of 12 and for 14 years, he lived an isolated life, wandering the mountain sides, without education, support or socialization. When his village chief invited him to Help Lesotho’s Herd Boy Program, he jumped at the chance. This was the first opportunity he had ever had to better himself. During the six-month program, he never missed a Saturday class, soaking up every word and idea, despite being by far the oldest in the group.

When he completed the program, Tsita gave a speech to his community:

My name is Tsita. I live in a little village in rural Lesotho. I was in Help Lesotho’s herd boy training. As herd boys we spend almost our entire lives looking after animals with no information about issues concerning us. The training has changed our lives—most especially mine.

Most of us were never told about issues surrounding HIV/AIDS, but the program helped us dispel all false information about it. We tested for HIV and screened for STIs for the first time ever. We learned about the importance of good health and hygiene. We believe that this is going to strengthen our relationship with other people out there who have been considering us as animals.

I used to be a perpetuator of violence against women. It seemed normal to us boys to beat and violate women’s rights because no one took any action against it. The issue of gender equity to me and my fellow colleagues was understood as a way of depriving us of our privileges and punishing us.

The training changed my whole thinking. Now we understand that women are human beings like us with the same rights and worth—just like us. Therefore, we as men should stop abusing women and girls. Ladies and gentlemen, gender equity doesn’t imply that men should be inferior but that both men and women should have equal opportunities and power in making decisions about their lives because they both have the same capability.

To all young men in Lesotho, please let’s join hands and empower our beloved women and girls. How are we expecting them to live when we mistreat them? They are our mothers, sisters and wives. Let us respect and honour them for the greatness they bring to our lives.

Now in my village, we have a committee of herd boys who are fighting hard to report cases of abuse. I am making a plea to every man in Lesotho to make it their assignment in their communities. We young men should work together to end violence against girls and women in any form.”

Three years after completing the program, Tsita continues to share what he learned and advocate against gender-based violence. During a conversation with Help Lesotho, he said the program changed him forever. He had been a harsh man, thoughtlessly abusing women sexually. He said that once he started the program he stopped completely and never did it again. To this day, whenever he sees a woman or girl being abused he either tries to stop it or he reports it.

He said that he learned how important it was to know his HIV status, to get tested regularly and to get treatment if required.

Tsita said that he tells people around his village that women must be respected and should never be abused because they have rights. He reported that because of the program, he became confident and can now express himself. Before that he had been so shy that he never spoke to others and could not express what was inside.

He said if it had not been for this program, he probably would have been in prison but now he will never go there because he knows how to do better.

He said that the donors who gave him this program must be very happy because his life will be better. He is a different man and he will make them proud.

Tebello’s Story

Tebello’s Story

Tebello is a bright and vivacious young woman who embodies the very best of Lesotho’s leaders of today! From the time she was in primary school, Tebello has been an active participant in Help Lesotho’s programs. Below you can read a touching tribute from Tebello to Help Lesotho.

Tebello on graduation day, after completing her Master’s Degree in late 2020. As she says – #MakeEducationFashionable!

“As we #MakeEducationFashionable, I want to celebrate millions of people who “gave” money for me and others to have access to this education. Sponsors who gave not because they had plenty, but because they were passionate to restore our dignity as children. I was a beneficiary of the “Child Sponsorship Program (CSP), a program by Help Lesotho. They paid for all my school fees from Form D-E, made sure that I had good school uniform and shoes, books, textbooks and tse ngollang!

Help Lesotho didn’t just give me money, they exposed me to numerous educational programs: young women’s conference, and leadership conference. After one of these empowering programs, I gained my self esteem… And I started singing at school assembly, that’s when I started growing my school talent. I never looked back, I became a better person, grew up knowledgeable about who I am, my rights and responsibilities, my purpose.

I learned a lot about HIV, and how I can participate in addressing the problems that come with it among the youth and the entire community. I also learned how to make better choices regarding my own health, so that I can be healthy, and support those infected with HIV. I have been working in an HIV care and treatment setting, and I am proud that I get to give back to those who need my services the most. As a pharmacist, I know that my attitude towards patient care determines “the overall outcome of patient care is it doesn’t matter how everyone is working hard in the heathcare setting, if I don’t have a right attitude to serve… My patients won’t go home with optimized care. I am glad that the seed someone planted in me since 2007 is bearing fruit in my area of practice daily.

Tebello and Peg Herbert at the Help Lesotho Alumni Reunion, February 2020.

I always celebrate how the adolescent and young girls’ programs are designed and framed to respond to real time challenges of youth in our beautiful country.

If Help Lesotho had not ministered hope in my life, maybe I would have been a victim of ‘childhood marriage’ that is very prevalent in the rural areas in Lesotho. As I celebrate a mile stone of graduating with a Masters Degree, I want to make Help Lesotho famous for shinning a light on my young life, and ministering Hope, so that I could become this unstoppable young energy that I am today. God has been soooo goooooood to me for giving me favour with you.

It was a journey worth taking, experienced a lot of challenges, from financial constraints as a self-sponsored student, balancing work, social life as a young girl, supporting my family…yet God helped me through it. I am forever grateful for the influence Help Lesotho has had on my life -and I apply all the principles in my life daily. First in 2007,I was taught to affirm myself that “I am wonderful”, and I was taught that I should Step up, and Speak Up…and most importantly, It’s a principle of my life that “As a leader, I should never give up”! Thank you very much for the counsel, prayers and all forms of mentorship and support-I intend to make you proud ALWAYS!”

Letter from Rethabile

Letter from Rethabile

Hello, my name is Rethabile. I am a Mosotho girl aged 28 years. I never had a father and I lost my mother to cancer when I was 13 years old. I was fortunate enough to be raised by my lovely grandparents who sacrificed a lot just so I can finish my studies.

When I was in high school I started taking alcohol to make myself feel better, then life after writing my exams humbled me. I applied to several schools but I was only admitted to one school. As I did not get a scholarship, I had to stay at home the whole year. I used my talent to braid people’s hair to save money to apply for schools again the following year.

I was admitted at Lesotho College of Education toward a Diploma in Education Secondary, majoring in English and Geography. At this point I realized that I had to work hard at school and pass because should fail I was going to lose my sponsorship and nobody was going to pay for me. All I ever wanted was to change my grandparents’ life for the better. Yet, after graduation came unemployment and I started to lose hope again. I had suicidal thoughts because of staying at home with nothing to do, when a friend introduced me to Help Lesotho programs of which I will forever be grateful because it changed my life for the better.

When I first started my lessons at Help Lesotho (Computer and Life Skills 2018) I thought of it as passing the time. I did not have an idea that the way I looked at life was going to change in a positive way. Although the sessions we had on Life Skills were short, they were helpful in a way because they left me so curious that I applied for Leaders-in-Training Program in February 2019. The lesson on self-esteem made me realize that I do not have control over what other people think of me. I realized that if I loved myself enough what other people think of me wouldn’t matter. I reflected on how I almost ruined my future by neglecting school because of what I couldn’t change and had no control over.

Everyday spent at Help Lesotho healed me, I stopped being angry at life in general, people who hurt me, my dad who was never part of my life, and my mother’s death. I got to realize the things I did to other people that hurt them unaware that I was hurting them.

The ability to heal, to recover or bounce back from a difficult situation is the best remedy in the world. It helped me become the best decision maker. I am able to help people and learn from them. I dealt with my fears.

In the past I used to confuse being abused with being loved. I have been in a very toxic relationship unaware that I was being abused. The only time I noticed was went the pain was inflicted physically. I was in a relationship whereby it was a crime to make a mistake. I had no problem with that until I attended Help Lesotho’s sessions and was taught about healthy and unhealthy relationships. Now I am able to speak my mind, am able to see when I am being abused physically, emotionally, and mentally.

My life has changed for the better and I am a new person that my community is proud to have around because through me they know that Help Lesotho exists, my neighbors are part of the programs and their lives are improving.

A Young Girl and Her Pencil

A Young Girl and Her Pencil

Many of you will remember a photo that Peg Herbert took 12 years ago of a sweet young girl at her primary school in Lesotho. The photo of little Lits’oanelo with a pencil stub tied around her neck for safe-keeping touched many hearts.

Lits’oanelo with a pencil stub tied around her neck for safe-keeping

 

Earlier this year, Peg posted this photo as a ‘flashback’ on Twitter.

Shortly thereafter, she received a reply from a young woman in Lesotho who felt a connection to the little girl in the photo, because the girl reminded her of herself. The woman expressed a desire to help the little girl, who is now in high school.

Help Lesotho was able to reconnect with Lits’oanelo and provide her with a pair of shoes, some new clothing, and some school supplies all courtesy of the woman from Twitter.

Lits’oanelo with a pencil stub tied around her neck for safe-keeping and 12 years later

Goods issue note for Lits’oanelo in Lesotho

Stories like this are so encouraging to us! This little girl has inspired so many people to generously support Help Lesotho, and we are so happy to see her doing well as she continues to pursue her education!