STANDARD Lesotho Bank is committed to providing material and moral support to Intellectual Disability and Autism Lesotho (IDAL), a non-profit organisation which provide care and other services to people living with autism.
In a recent interview with the Lesotho Times, Standard Lesotho Bank Marketing Manager Manyathela Kheleli, said they had resolved to use their annual golf day to raise funds for IDAL and a few other charitable initiatives.
He said apart from the monetary support, they have also embarked on various initiatives that include familiarisation tours to neighbouring South Africa where IDAL gets lessons on how to improve their organisation.
“In 2015, we introduced a charity element to our annual golf day and since last year we have decided to raise funds for IDAL starting with the M180 000 that was raised last year,” Mr Kheleli said.
“We made it our policy that with each figure that would have been raised at the golf day, the bank matches it and this implies that for last year, IDAL benefited to the tune of M360 000. This year M251 000 was raised and we added our portion to make the money M502 000 for 2019.
“In total, since last year, we have raised M862 000 for IDAL which the organisation intends to use to fund the construction of an autism centre.”
Mr Kheleli said they are also assisting the organisation with capacity building before they can disburse the funds to ensure that the staff has the requisite skills for the tasks that the organisation intends to undertake.
He said the money raised for the organisation so far has been deposited into a call account to ensure that it generates interest.
“The first priority for the organisation is the autism centre. Autistic children do not give their parents or guardians any rest. They need 24 hour care from skilled staff. So, the centre will provide a facility where parents can leave their children while they go about their business.
“Apart from that, the organisation is also hoping to fund a learning centre and they need facilities that can cater for children with different needs.”
Mr Kheleli said they are also working with the leadership to ensure that they build capacity to ensure that they can run a self-sustainable entity. In this regard, he said they have taken the leadership to Johannesburg so as to establish synergies with well-established entities like Autism South Africa and the Ernie Els Foundation in 2018.
He said they have also engaged another organisation called LIV Foundation based in KwaZulu Natal which they intend to tour soon.
“The purpose of such tours and engagements is to ensure that the leadership learn from bigger and similar entities that are already established so that they can learn how they can also improve their own organisation.
“Although we are yet to visit LIV, we are in touch with them. They run several self-sustenance projects like schools and farms which generate funds for the day to day running of the project. This is important because Standard Bank Lesotho cannot be with IDAL for ever so they need to be able to stand on their own and mobilise resources.
For his part, Makhetha Moshabesha, who is the Public Relations Officer for IDAL expressed gratitude to Standard Lesotho Bank for its support.
He said organisations like theirs only survive due to the benevolence of the corporate sector. Mr Moshabesha however, said most companies prefer short-term engagements which often leave the beneficiaries grappling with no support.
“Corporate Social Investments (CSI) are really helpful us especially for an organisation like ours which is embarking on a financially challenging initiative. However, we have noted that most companies prefer short term support.
“Nevertheless, we are grateful for the direction that Standard Bank Lesotho has taken and are doing things differently with constant support.
“We have a dream to start the initial stages of construction this year and the availability of the funding will determine when the project will be completed. We are also working to strengthen our relationships with the South African organisations so that they are mutually beneficial to ensure that we can also build capacity,” Mr Moshabesha said.
He said while their organisation is still in its infancy, their dream is create a self-sustainable project with elements that include social enterprising.
Formed last year, IDAL currently works with volunteers and Mr Moshabesha said once their projects are on sound footing, they hope to employ fulltime staff.