We hope this finds you all well and thriving despite so many changes and uncertainties in our world. A huge thank you to all who participated in Ride for Refuge and for your support this year. Together you helped us raise ______ for our work in Lesotho. Thank you!! We wanted to share two updates for you, one about the impact of Covid on our children and community, and a personal story about one of our children who graduated top of his class in his university degree.
Last March, when Covid-19 broke onto the stage as a global pandemic, we in Lesotho were terrified. We have a 25% HIV infection rate and high rates of diabetes and hypertension which put our population at risk for the worst-case scenarios. The poor health system has very little capacity to care for Covid-19 patients with moderate to severe symptoms. Then when the government closed the borders and put the country into lockdown, some feared dying from hunger more than Covid-19. Schools also shut down with no virtual alternative.
It was a mess.
At Trust for Africa we did everything in our power to protect and care for our staff and children. We followed hygiene protocols and government mandates, all the while cognizant of the need to nurture our mental health and continue our children’s education. As of today, most of the country is back to usual operations with the exception of schools. Eight months after the initial lockdown, we stand grateful for so much.
- Thanks to some individual donors and our ReGen partners, we were able to build a pre-fab sick-bay and quarantine cottage. We lovingly call it “Sally’s Sick Bay” as funds were given towards it in memory of my Aunt Sally. Thankfully none of our staff or children have contracted Covid-19 or any other communicable disease thus far.
- TFA’s tutor continues to work with our elementary age students which is critical because we do not know when schools will re-open. Our high school students have been meeting with some of their teachers and classmates in small-group study sessions.
- Thankfully Covid-19—so far—has not created a devastating health impact in Lesotho. Out of a population of 2.2 million people, there have only been about 2000 confirmed cases and 44 deaths.
- Trust for Africa joined a local partnership of businesses, churches and individuals to form “Hope for Lesotho.” Through this effort we have helped provide needy families with food packages, a brochure about Covid-19 hygiene practices and also the hope of the Gospel, face masks and essential supplies. Hope for Lesotho has also been running a weekly radio program as a beacon of truth. Our radio hosts share Biblical truth and counter myths and false narratives about Covid-19. They also highlight stories of Basotho helping Basotho through these difficult times.
In most cases we are able to successfully reintegrate our children into their communities before they turn 18. Sometimes children transition to independent living while under our support and guidance. Currently under our care are five children who will soon transition to independent adult life—as did Dilemo.
Dilemo came to us seven years ago through the government’s Child and Gender Protection Unit as a result of traumatic circumstances. We supported him through high school and recognized Dilemo’s incredible resilience and determination. We continued to support him as he pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcast Journalism from Limkokwing University of Creative Technology in the capital. During his time at university, Dilemo worked for local news agencies as a reporter. He also spent a semester at TFA as a Public Relations intern.
Dilemo recently graduated first in his class! He exhibited incredible dedication, hard work and perseverance to complete this degree despite difficult challenges and we are so proud of him! Unfortunately COVID-19 has not allowed us to celebrate with him adequately as the university did not hold an official graduation ceremony.
In a country like Lesotho where unemployment is sky high, this young man has realized that he needs to take the initiative to achieve success. Dilemo’s dream is to create his own media agency and he recently succeeded in registering a newspaper. Once up and running he plans to make a living for himself through sales and advertisements.
Thank you for your support that enables us to continue interceding for the most vulnerable children. Each of our children is learning how to live into the purpose that God has given them, both under the shelter of our care, and in their communities. It is such a joy to share the impact of your giving and prayers seen so clearly in our young men and women, like Dilemo, who are spreading their wings.
With great gratitude,
Trust for Africa