The big smiles of joy!

The big smiles of joy!

MASERU -NOTHING could have prepared Lerato Ntimo, a consultant for Lesana Financial Institution, for the scenes she saw when she visited Maseru East Primary for a presentation earlier this month.
It was a heart-breaking situation that touched her heart.
In the biting wintry morning, young children were walking to school bare-footed. Those who were better off were wearing torn shoes, any type of shoes.
When Teboho Manthanyane-Rampa, the Regional Manager of Lesana Financial Institution, was told of the pupils’ plight, she immediately sprang into action.
“Upon my arrival at the school, I came across pupils who were in private clothes in the middle of the week and those who were in uniform were in a bad state, let alone shoes,’’ she says.
“I made a decision to donate school shoes to those pupils.”
And thanks to that decision, dozens of school children from extremely poor and vulnerable families walked away, for the first time in years, in brand new shoes last week, thanks to Lesana Financial Institution.

The company handed over 142 pairs of shoes worth M27 000 to the Maseru East Primary School students.
“There is a great challenge of vulnerability in Lesotho,” Manthanyane-Rampa says.
She urged local businesses to give back to the community as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility programmes.
“Businesses have to prioritise the community because our businesses are in operation because of the community,” she says.
A teacher at a crèche attached to the same school, ’Matšepo Salooe, says the children are not only struggling to have uniforms and shoes, but they are also literally starving.
This, she says, contributes significantly to the poor class attendance at the school.

She says many pupils come to school on empty stomachs and can hardly concentrate during lessons because of hunger.
She says they hold meetings with parents and guardians to address the challenges but nothing much has changed.
The families are also struggling to survive, she says.
Now that Lesana has donated some shoes, Salooe believes they will see progress because children will be cushioned against the harsh weather conditions in winter.
“The children will have peace of mind,” she says.

The Maseru East School Principal, ’Mamaloka Serake, says pupils at her school are “really struggling”.
She says this situation is not only affecting the pupils but also the teachers who have to interface with the children daily.
“We are moving from every corner knocking at every door seeking help for these pupils,” she says.
Serake says when these students eat samp (cornmeal mush), they get hungry before they even return home.
She said most of these pupils only eat once at school.

“When the students eat bread, you see great joy amongst them,” she says.
The principal said the situation is affecting the pupils’ academic performance.
She says the donation will go a long way in boosting the pupils’ confidence.
“Whenever a student owns something, it is because someone gave it to them as a second-hand product, they never get a chance to own new things,” she says.
Lesana Financial Institution is a company that specialises in providing loans to Basotho. The company offers loans from as little as M1 000 to M250 000, depending on an individual’s salary.

Refiloe Mpobole

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