Leaders – in – Training 2021 Impact Report

Leaders – in – Training 2021 Impact Report

Overview: Annually, 60 youth participate in this intensive six-week program to foster behaviour change, build resilience, promote healthy decision-making and self-management and foster leadership in a new generation of young leaders in Lesotho. Without support, disenfranchised young people plagued by poverty, disease and isolation are likely to engage in unhealthy behaviour and may become a burden on society. Leaders-in-Training (LIT) develops the capacity and skills of young people to identify and deal with the profound impact of AIDS and poverty in their lives, and then to become leaders, benefitting themselves, their communities and all of Lesotho. LIT graduates are more likely to get jobs due to their improved emotional intelligence and professionalism.

At the end of the 2021 program, 95% of participants assessed the program as ‘Excellent’ (5% as ‘Good’).Outcomes:

  • Outcome #1: Youth increase their resilience
Indicator Percent of participants who increased their confidence Percent of participants who felt ‘very confident’ at the end of the program
I feel confident asking for help 70% 98%
I feel confident standing up for my rights 35% 93%
I feel confident making good decisions 60% 95%
I feelt confident setting goals and working towards them 70% 86%
I feel confident communicating my thoughts and emotions 86% 91%
I feel confident that others see me as a role model 63% 88%
I feel confident that others can rely on me for help 47% 98%
  • Outcome #2: Youth improve their knowledge and attitude toward HIV/AIDS and gender equity
      • All participants said they improved their knowledge and have a healthier attitude towards HIV/AIDS and gender equity (on average, 17% ‘agreed’ and 83% ‘strongly agreed’).
      • Participants reported these areas as the most significant changes:
        • Realizing that people with HIV can live long, healthy lives
        • Understanding that people in relationships (even marriages) still need sexual consent
        • Learning that there is no need to be scared of people with HIV – and that everyone has a role to fight against discrimination
  • Outcome #3: Youth learn skills and strategies to help their community and apply the strategies
      • 96% of participants gained useful skills and knowledge
      • 100% of participants are applying skills and knowledge from the program in their daily lives
      • 100% of participants are applying skills and knowledge from the program to make positive changes in their communities

The skills and knowledge I have gained have changed my life. I now have self-esteem and I can make my own decisions regardless what others think about me.”
I learned that I am actually a leader, but for the longest time I have eased my potential to exercise this particular skill. I am now in touch with my inner-self I understand myself better, my values and principles. I now want to continue with the skills I gained to empower and educate other people. I will bring positive change.”

Helping Others   2021
Did you learn strategies to help make positive changes in your community? 100% 100%
If YES , are you applying these strategies? 92% 95%

 

Leaders-in-Training Participant Profiles:

“The opportunity I had with Help Lesotho’s ‘Leaders-in-Training’ program was a great chance for learning and professional development. I consider myself a very lucky individual as I was provided with an opportunity to be part of it. I am also grateful for having a chance to meet so many wonderful people and professionals who led me through this period.

The modules made me reflect on myself and people around me, how I handled challenging situations and dealt with them. I gained self-confidence and started respecting myself and be who I am again.

Modules like rape, sexual assault and domestic violence made me realize how women go through challenging matters and cannot even report because of lack of knowledge, the fear of being judged and self-blame. Now that I know better, I will raise awareness and make them see their worth and help them regain their self-confidence.

I perceive this opportunity as a big milestone in my career development. I will strive to use the gained skills and knowledge in the best possible way.” – Kelebone, 26

“My name is Lerotholi Edward Mota, aged 24. I have a diploma in teaching secondary sciences majoring in biology and chemistry and I am currently working as a private high school teacher.
Both my parents are deceased and I live with my cousins and younger brother. I enrolled in Leadership in Training program from March to April 2021 with courage from a friend. From deep within as a person I never thought the program with its modules will bring the good out of me. The sessions helped me to unfold and I got to know the real me through the self-awareness, self-esteem and role model sessions.

I learned that our Basotho culture plays a huge role in making men bitter and cruel because they are not supposed to cry or express grief even over the loss of a loved one. All this anger is making our families more dangerous.

I want to help others, especially boys and men, to express their emotions and build better coping mechanisms.

As a young teacher dealing with children and teenagers, getting to interact with Help Lesotho staff and facilitators helped me boost my self-esteem, behaviour and personal traits that will help me to do my work with ease. The program helped me sharpen my communication skills and equipped me with skills in building healthy relationships. I am now able to know and take responsibility for my own decisions and take a clear stand for what I believe in.”

Trafficking Puleng

Trafficking Puleng

In early March 2016, 18-year-old Puleng became a victim of human trafficking.

Like many girls in poverty-stricken Lesotho, Puleng was struggling. She was 16 when she gave birth to her son, working hard to eke out a living for herself and her older brother. Puleng was earning less than USD $5 washing clothes – it simply was not enough. So when her neighbor, a woman whom she trusted, told her of the opportunity to earn more money as a domestic worker in South Africa, Puleng jumped at the chance.

Once in South Africa, Puleng’s good fortune turned into a nightmare. Her neighbour brought her to the home of an older man and told Puleng she was now married to him. Puleng in shock, replied, “I am not married. I came here for work not marriage.”

Paved highway in Lesotho

Human Trafficking in Lesotho

Trafficking into South Africa is particularly easy. Some of the borders are open for 24 hours or late into the night, and border control is very slack. Lesotho provides the quickest route into South Africa for traffickers because once one has crossed the border, the nearest South African town is no more than a few kilometers away.

Most trafficked people in Lesotho are male and female street children, sex workers and ordinary women and girls living a normal life in their homes, like Puleng.

In Lesotho, the unemployment rate for women is particularly high – up to 70%. The closure of textile factories has left a lot of female workers without any work. This economic reality makes them particularly vulnerable to traffickers.

As a result, for women needing to support their families, South Africa is the place to go to find a job. When vulnerable Basotho women hear false promises of a better future in South Africa, it exposes them to human trafficking situations.

Puleng’s Nightmare

Despite her protests, the 65-year-old man raped Puleng and held her hostage for three days. Puleng was far from home and didn’t know anyone, but she didn’t give up. When she saw an opportunity to escape her captors, she ran to find the local councillor.

The councillor demanded the traffickers pay for Puleng’s transportation back to Lesotho. They protested, but eventually agreed to return Puleng back home.

Once in Lesotho, Puleng went to the local police and charged the traffickers. The case is ongoing.

Children outside shack in Lesotho

Lesotho’s Vulnerable Orphans

Puleng and her brother are double-orphans, she says, “If I had parents, I wouldn’t face these kinds of challenges.”

Over 300,000 children in Lesotho are orphaned and are doomed to face similar fates. Without strong family support systems, children are susceptible to traffickers.

Thankfully, Puleng tested negative for HIV and is now safely back home with her brother and child.

Sunflowers in Lesotho

A Brighter Future Ahead

Help Lesotho’s Young Mother Program recruited Puleng for training. She says that the self-esteem training changed her life because it allows her to feel more confident and face her struggles head on. In addition, she is so grateful for the community of friends she has built through her young mother support group.

Puleng plans to give back to her community by sharing her story with other young men and women, advising them to know all the facts before taking a job abroad and avoid traffickers.

The South African Drought

Water-rich Lesotho has long lubricated South Africa’s burgeoning population, but when drought struck in 2016, it was the residents of Katse village who suffered.

Read more about the effects of the South African drought on Lesotho.

The Power of Knowledge

Correct information empowers people to make the best possible choices in all aspects of life. Conversely, incorrect or poorly communicated information can cause a degree of harm that can be worse than knowing nothing in the first place. It is time to stop focusing solely on access to education, and start working on improving the quality of education.

Read more here.