THE Minister of Gender, Youth, Sports, Arts, Culture and Social Development, Pitso Lesaoana, has called upon different companies to donate to the SOS Children’s Village to enable it to perform its tasks.
Mr Lesaoana made the plea during the SOS Children’s Village commemoration of its founder Hermann Gmeiner over the weekend.
SOS Day is celebrated on 23 June every year to commemorate the birth anniversary of Mr Gmeiner.
The colourful ceremony was filled with performances from children from the SOS Children’s Village and others who study at the center. The acts included the traditional mokhibo dance, singing and other modern dance routines.
SOS Children’s Village is one of the orphanages in the country with centers in Maseru and Quthing. It takes care of 97 children. It also accommodates children from other neighbouring communities at a fee.
According to the SOS Village’s Lesotho national director, Masenate Letsie, their aim was to offer orphaned children education and safe homes to feel loved, protected and comfortable enough to build new positive lives.
She said an Austrian man, Hermann Gmeiner, had, post the World War II, recognized the danger children faced after they became homeless and orphaned due to the war. He then decided to establish orphanage homes in his native country in 1949. Later on, the effort spread to other countries until it reached Lesotho in the early 90s. Mr Gmeiner, dedicated philanthropist, died in 1986 at the age of 67.
Ms Letsie said SOS Children’s villages now existed in 139 countries including Lesotho.
“Here in Lesotho, SOS children’s Village was established in 1993 after the pandemic of HIV/AIDS orphaned many children”, Ms Masenate said.
“We have two children’s villages in Lesotho; the other one is in Maseru while the other one is in Quthing and the latter was established in 2010,” she said.
Mr Lesaoana made a plea to corporates to support the SOS Children’s Village for children to feel protected and loved and to help them enhance their education.
“I thank all the sponsors who are working hand-in-hand to see that this village grows so that it can increase the number of children living here.
“The SOS is doing a sterling job and it is my humble plea to other corporate entities to be merciful enough to help this center fulfil its goal,” Mr Lesaoana said.
Standard Lesotho Bank marketing manager, Manyathela Kheleli, on behalf of the companies that sponsor the center, said her bank had so far invested over M1.3 million into the betterment of the SOS Children’s Village.
“These children we are supporting have dreams which are not limited to waking up each and every day and having something to eat. They dream that one of the good days they will be standing where I am now while some sit next to His Majesty like Minister Lesaoana, serving in prestigious government portfolios”, Mr Kheleli said.
For his part, His Majesty King Letsie III said he had over 30 years of supporting the SOS Children’s village.
“I’m so humbled to see how these children are so brilliant. This means that teachers here are working so hard to see that they get better education”, King Letsie III said.