MASERU – EMPLOYEES from two local companies and the Lesotho Correctional Service donated 20 pints of blood to the Lesotho Blood Transfusion Services last week.
The workers were from Letshego Financial Services and NBC Insurance.
The donation was made at Letshego’s premises in Maseru last Thursday.
Letshego, which organised the event, said it did so as a way to give back to the community especially during the summer season when the need for blood increases because of road accidents.
’Malehlohonolo Van Tonder, the Letshego CEO, said this is the first time the company’s employees have donated blood.
Van Tondeer said as an institution they live to help those who are less fortunate. “At Letshego we say let’s improve lives, and we understand that through giving blood we can improve other people’s lives,” Van Tonder said. Van Tonder said after the Worlds AIDS Day celebration on December 1, it was only best to give blood since statistics show that there is shortage of blood in the blood bank. ’Maleqhoa ’Nyopa, the Director at LBTS, said blood is never enough and the blood bank is in dire need of blood especially in December due to the increase in road accidents. “Letshego is doing a very good job, we wish all companies can join in and let their employees give blood as well as those surrounding them,” ’Nyopa said.
’Nyopa said the bank has a challenge of meeting the blood needs of hospitals.
She however said hospitals do not mention how many patients die because of having lost blood and the extent to which blood is scarce.
“We however know that the scarcity of blood in the bank is bad. When one hospital needs five packets of blood we can only provide two,” ’Nyopa said.
She said the security agencies are their biggest blood donor and an intensive advocacy need to be done in the commercial sector for businesses to join in.
“Slowly the knowledge gap is being bridged and we can see light as more people are donating their blood to save lives,” ’Nyopa said.
The Lesotho Blood Transfusion Service said it stopped going to schools to ask students to donate blood because of some issues that needed to be addressed such as consent from the parents.
She however said the bank promised to go back to schools next year with a letter to address the consent issues.
Makhetha Tšilo, 34, a private volunteer who donated blood on that day, said he last donated blood when he was in high school more than a decade ago.
“I have no excuses why I had stopped but I am ready to give blood more often,” Tšilo said.
Tšilo said he understood the need to give blood.
“It is for my wife, child, friend, relative, friend and everyone that may need it. It is vital that we give our blood to save lives.”
“One day I will need blood and I know someone’s blood will save me,” he said.
The Lesotho Blood Transfusion Service was established in June 1984 as an integral part of the Central Laboratory Services by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.
Its goal is to provide safe and adequate blood and blood products to all the hospitals in the country.
This is achieved through the recruitment, selection and retention of voluntary non-remunerated blood donors, collection, processing, screening and storage of blood and blood products, distribution of blood and blood products to all the hospitals.
Blood transfusion is touted as an essential part of health care delivery.
However this therapeutic intervention may be associated with acute or delayed complications and carries the risk of transmission of infectious agents.
In the United States, for instance, there is a movement within the medical field to move towards non-blood medical management in hospitals.
Short courses for ex-mineworkers
THE Lesotho Diamond Academy has introduced mining short courses, particularly to ex-mineworkers, to help them re-enter the mining sector.
The Essential Introductory Courses, which will run for two weeks, will start from June this year. The courses are meant particularly for people who worked in mines in South Africa.
The Academy’s CEO, Relebohile Molefe, unveiled the new courses during the graduation of 18 students last week, four of whom are now armed with Cutting and Polishing certificates while 14 graduated with Rough Diamond Evaluation certificates.
The new courses include the Essential Certificate in Diamond Grading and the Essential Certificate in Diamond Evaluation.
“The decision to offer these courses aligns with the Academy’s dedication to bridge the gap and ensure that individuals with valuable experience can seamlessly reintegrate into the diamond and jewelry industry,” Molefe said.
“By providing short courses, the academy does not only impart essential skills but also contributes to the sector’s growth by reactivating experienced individuals who had lost access to the industry due to no formal documents showing their experience in the industry,’’ she said.
During the graduation celebration, Molefe also unveiled a new sponsorship programme for various courses.
One outstanding student previously sponsored, who demonstrated exceptional proficiency in Rough Diamond Evaluation, was granted a fully funded bursary to further his studies into Advanced Certificate in Round Diamond Brilliantering.
In pursuit of its multifaceted objectives, one of which is to serve as a catalyst for employers in the diamond and jewelry sector to devise skills development strategies, the Academy is set to sponsor four additional students in the upcoming intake starting from February 15.
Two of these bursaries will afford a 30 percent discount on overall fees for two students progressing from Cutting and Polishing to advanced studies in Rough Diamond Evaluation.
Two will be fully funded bursaries to study for a Certificate in Diamond Cutting and Polishing.
Additionally, the institution will extend two fully funded bursaries to the public, fostering inclusivity and expanding opportunities.
The Academy says it plans to announce the search for two deserving Basotho individuals on its social media pages and website.
“Importantly, the bursary programme bears no age restrictions, reflecting a commitment to fairness and inclusiveness, ensuring that opportunities are accessible to all, irrespective of age,” it says in a statement.
The Academy says it seeks “to be a dynamic force in shaping the industry, not just within national borders, but also on regional and international platforms”.
“The emphasis on competitiveness within these markets underscores the institution’s commitment to producing graduates who are not only proficient but also globally competitive,” the statement reads.
“The recent graduation ceremony symbolises a milestone in the Academy’s journey. The success of its students is a testament to the quality of education and the foresight embedded in the curriculum.”
The Academy says its decision to sponsor further education for outstanding performers reflects a belief in nurturing talent and contributing to the continuous improvement of the diamond industry.
The Lesotho Diamond Academy was founded by the late Mpalipali Molefe, a prominent educator, diamond trader and an MP, who recognised the imperative to elevate professionalism in the diamond industry.
Bank hands over uniforms to students
THE Lesotho Post Bank donated uniforms to students at Leqele High School worth a staggering M60 000 as part of its Back-To-School campaign.
The bank said it did this “to keep needy children in school and to promote their education”.
A teacher at the school, Tšepo Semethe, said the uniforms will likely motivate the students to work harder in their studies.
Semethe insisted on giving the bank the names of the students so that it could check their performance at the end of the year.
“At Leqele High School, we work very hard because what we want is excellence above all. To us, hard work pays,” he said.
The bank’s Chief Risk Officer, Molefi Khama, said they are getting old, they will soon retire and Lesotho Post Bank will be in the hands of these children.
He pleaded with the students to work harder.
“This is why we decided to come here to support the students in their education so that when coming to school, they should be confident,” Khama said.
“We are watching you and waiting on you,” he said.
The school’s head prefect, Tholoana Monatsi, said from now on, “no student will be identified by what they wear”.
“(Lesotho) Post Bank made us one and we thank them for that because what we wear cannot stand before our education. We indeed thank you and forever you will hold special places in our hearts,” she said.
A parent, ’Marorisang Latela, said they were very grateful for the gift from Lesotho Post Bank adding that they must also donate to other schools.
Minister of Trade, Mokethi Shelile, promised to go back to the school to discuss how the children could learn in comfortable surroundings.
Mamello School of Special Needs wins prize
MAMELLO School of Special Needs is the first-place winner of Standard Lesotho Bank’s Scaled-Up Pitching Den held at Maseru Avani on Tuesday.
The school has secured a grand prize for an all-expenses-paid trip to Kenya to participate as a finalist representing Lesotho at the Standard Bank Africa Awards.
The school, pioneered in 2020 during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic through Zoom classes, deals with children who live with conditions such as autism, attachment disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) dyslexia, Down syndrome and slow learners.
STKTM Solutions claimed the second-place spot, receiving a commendable M10 000, while Masia Farms secured third place and a M5 000 prize.
Pheello Masia of Masia Farms, thanked Standard Lesotho Bank for backing their vision and that of other Basotho entrepreneurs.
He acknowledged that the bank’s faith in their endeavours serves as a source of inspiration, propelling them to work harder and foster growth within the community.
The event, aimed at fortifying support and fostering regional integration for Basotho entrepreneurs across the African continent, showcased the bank’s commitment to driving the growth of Lesotho.
Malatola Phothane, Head of Enterprise Banking at Standard Lesotho Bank, set the tone in his welcoming remarks.
“As Standard Lesotho Bank, through business and commercial banking, we strive to turn possibilities into opportunities,” Phothane said.
“Lesotho is our home, and we drive her growth,” he said.
His words resonated with the bank’s dedication to nurturing local talent and fostering economic development.
Phothane acknowledged the eight finalists, commending them for their resilience and passion for their businesses.
He emphasised how each entrepreneur had stood their ground, displaying knowledge and unwavering commitment.
The recognition not only highlighted the achievements of the finalists but also underscored the bank’s role in recognising and uplifting the entrepreneurial spirit within the community.
Aliciah Motšoane, founder of Prestige Furnitures and Sentebale Gap Funeral Services, played a significant role at the event as a motivational speaker, sharing her entrepreneurial journey filled with challenges and triumphs.
She recounted her humble beginnings when she was selling bread in high school, leading to the establishment of Prestige Furnitures in 1998.
Despite facing a significant setback after her shop was burnt down during the riots and incurring a loss of M5 million, Motšoane never gave up.
She said business is always a demanding endeavour adding that it needs hard work and a unique mindset.
She urged entrepreneurs to embrace their roots, seek inspiration, and persevere through challenges.
The keynote speaker, the bank’s Head of Business and Commercial Clients, Keketso Makara, said the bank is committed to foster a thriving business environment, highlighting the pivotal role of youth collaboration across diverse economic sectors.
Makara said their mandate aims to empower youths in steering the private sector towards growth, contributing to economic diversification.
Makara urged the eight finalists to actively involve bankers in refining their proposals for maximum impact on economic stimulation and sustainable development.
The bank said the Scaled-Up Pitching Den not only served as a stage for entrepreneurs to present their ventures but also acted as a driving force for networking, collaboration, and collective empowerment.
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