200 grandmothers are enrolled in Help Lesotho’s Grandmother Support Program in 2021-2022. The grandmothers attend monthly life skills training days where they receive psychosocial support. In addition to the training, the grandmothers receive support items such as blankets, food parcels and solar lanterns. Below, meet five of the nkhonos (grandmothers) currently in the program. The interviews were conducted by Help Lesotho’s local staff shortly after the grandmothers received their solar lanterns.
Seventy-two-year-old Nkhono Mapaki lives with her 2 grandchildren after their mother’s passing. She enjoys attending Help Lesotho’s monthly trainings because at the end of the day she sits with her grandchildren under the lantern light to share all that she has learnt. “The healthy versus unhealthy relationships session helped me to build a stronger relationship with my grandchildren and become a better communicator. I don’t have any access to electricity and we don’t see it happening anytime soon. The lantern has been greatly helpful because I don’t have to worry about buying the expensive paraffin anymore.”
Nkhono Malehlubi is raising two grandchildren. She said that she used to raise her voice at them but has since learned that using respectful words and being careful of the tone of her voice is more effective at getting her point across. She said there is now harmony in her home. “The lantern is a precious gift because I do not have electricity therefore has also saved me a lot of money from not having to purchase paraffin and candles but use the money for other basic needs.”
“Thank you Help Lesotho for fulfilling your promise and proving us with psychosocial support and bringing back our self-confidence. I was hesitant to participate in the grandmothers’ training because we had been given false hope in the longest time from other programs. Parenting has never felt so easy, raising my two grandchildren to my utmost best. I communicate better with them and see a massive improvement in their behaviour because of the skills I acquired from the trainings. I’m happy for the solar lanterns because my grandchildren will be able to do their school work with sufficient light.” – Nkhono Malineo, 82 years’
“The program was therapeutical because I had just lost my son to an accident. I had anger issues and could lash at anyone who came my way, but I was guided into understanding the consequences of my behaviour. My stress level is lowered and I find joy in sharing heartfelt conversations with the other grandmothers. Additionally, the solar lanterns is going bring greater joy in my family because we do not have electricity. – Nkhono Maleemisa, 61 years’
Nkhono Mamotebang lives in a household of 10 people, raising 8 of her grandchildren and her youngest daughter who is 18 years old. With the high rate of teenage pregnancy and early child marriage in Lesotho, she is worried for her daughter. The trainings thus far have helped guide her through many of her problems. She is using her self-esteem to stand up for her rights and uphold community leaders to their promises. “I have become more independent because I do not only rely on providing for my family through brewing traditional beer but also selling brooms and planting garden crops. The solar lanterns have come in handy because it is cost-effective and safe for the children to use when I am away from home. Thank you Help Lesotho.”