Grandmother Home Repairs

Jun 14, 2023

Participants in our Grandmother Support Program typically live in very old homes that are a struggle to maintain. Roofs are often made of thatch, walls of mud and stones, and doors and windows rarely close securely. It is a constant concern for the safety of the grandmothers and the orphaned grandchildren they care for. Repairing homes is not a typical component of our program due to the complexity and cost of such work. In 2021, we launched a special initiative to raise funds to repair the homes of grandmothers who were in greatest need. There were many challenges along the way, but seeing these families in safer homes certainly makes it worth the effort!


Mathabiso lives with her husband, five grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. She and her adorable grandson, who is not yet old enough to be at school with his siblings, proudly showed their repaired home. One side of their home was completely rebuilt while the other three walls were coated with cement. Mathabiso specifically asked for Help Lesotho to share a photo of her perfectly cleaned and hung laundry blowing in the wind – a clear indication of the love and care she has for the children she is raising. Her garden was bursting with peas and pumpkins, and the apple tree she received from Help Lesotho was full and healthy!


MaLong might be 82-years-old, but she is the definition of spunky! She bustled about her property in her bare feet, tending to her garden and donkeys, and declared, “I’m active because I’m from Help Lesotho!” MaLong is raising eight of her seventeen grandchildren. She manages to pay to send three of them to high school with the money she earns as an informal entrepreneur. Several days a week she rises before the sun to collect cans and cardboard from her community to sell to a recycling truck that passes through town occasionally. Other days she brings her donkey down the mountain to the community tap to haul water back up to her village, which she then sells for a small convenience fee. Finally, she has a beautiful garden that she sells vegetables from – and which she fully attributes to the skills she learned from Help Lesotho! On our visit, MaLong could not stop dancing, singing, and saying, “I love Help Lesotho!”


Down a steep, narrow path of rust-orange soil lives Makhotso, a 102-year-old grandmother. Her body is frail, but her spirit is strong. She stood and walked about three meters, from the side of her bed to the small kitchen. Even though her five great-great-great-grandchildren are now responsible for most of the chores, she insists on caring for her pig, her pride and joy, who recently had piglets. Makhotso was a member of Help Lesotho’s Grandmother Program from 2010-2011. She feels deeply connected to Help Lesotho and attributes her will to keep going to the resilience she built at Help Lesotho. Through the Home Repair Project, Makhotso’s bedroom wall was fully rebuilt and a new door was installed that keeps her safe and warm in her home.

“I have been looking for the cracks to put a cloth to block the wind at night, but I can’t find them anymore.”


The original plan to replace Mateboho’s door quite literally fell apart when the walls collapsed as soon as the original door frame was removed. Mateboho and her two grandchildren now have a much safer home. Mateboho was away collecting firewood at the time of our visit.


‘Maliopelo’s original door had not been able to fully close for years. Over time, the door was stuck wider and wider open, to the point that everyone who walked by could see right in. She now has a new door and a new roof for the home she shares with three great-grandchildren and her daughter. Maliopelo was at the clinic with her daughter at the time of our visit; her daughter is battling cancer.


Mampolai’s home caved in during one of Lesotho’s infamous rainstorms. Thankfully she and the four children she is raising escaped unharmed. The village chief is providing them with temporary housing while Help Lesotho helps rebuild her home from the ground up. Mampolai is excited to move back in and plant her new garden.