Miss Lesotho sets high targets

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Mohalenyane Phakela

RECENTLY crowned Miss Lesotho 2019, Palesa Makara, has set high goals aimed at transforming the country’s environmental health focusing on rural areas.

The 23-year-old stunner told this publication in a recent interview that she has been troubled by the unhealthy environment people live in which exposes children to harmful bacteria which often lead to severe illnesses. She said that she believes that through awareness and liaising with stakeholders, resources can be mobilised to improve environmental issues in various areas.

“Most people in rural areas do not have access to clean drinking water as they mostly rely on wells and rivers and they drink the water without any filtration,” Makara said.

“The environment is also polluted by harmful chemicals which are dispersed everywhere and in turn contaminates the water. This mostly affects children whose bodies are still fragile therefore easily catch infections. The worst part is that since they mostly live far from health services, sometimes children show symptoms of sickness when it is already too late.

“The best way to change this is to create awareness about the importance of keeping a clean environment and further teach people about the importance of hygiene. I am currently designing environmental projects and once I am done with the proposals, I will be approaching different stakeholders to mobilise the required resources. I believe this title will help me reach out to the right people to help and also attract more people’s attention to the problem.”

Makara also said that she has been part of the sanitary towels donation programmes in the past and plans are underway to take it up on a larger scale. She said she was already approaching wholesalers and retailers to donate sanitary pads since some cannot afford to buy them monthly.

A holder of a diploma in Home Economics from the Lesotho Agricultural College last year, Makara intends to pursue a degree in Environmental Health at the National University of Lesotho in the next academic year which starts in August 2019.

The Khubetsoana-born beauty on 2 March walked away with the Miss Lesotho sash and tiara at the expense of 11 other finalists. Refiloe Pitso and Michelle Dyamdeki landed first and second princess titles respectively.

Although this was her first time competing in a national pageant, Makara said that she believes she had the qualities to win.

“I was competing with experienced people, some of whom had competed in the same Miss Lesotho three or four times before. To top it all, they had crowds cheering them. However, I know how to charm my way around people and I used that; complimented with confidence, to win both the audience and judges’ hearts.

“I cannot say I was not expecting to win because I was a first timer in a pageant of that magnitude since I only competed at school. I feel I have big shoes to fill, looking at previous title holders such as Mpoi Mahao (Miss Lesotho 2017). However, if I was able to win the crown, then I have what it takes to maintain the standards they set,” Makara said.

The glamorous crowning was graced by the attendance of Tourism Minister, Joang Molapo, as well as Education Minister, Professor Ntoi Rapapa.

Mr Molapo said that it is through pageants that the beauty of a country can be sold to other nations, thus, promoting tourism.

“We have beautiful places such as Sehlabathebe National Park which we can sell through these young ladies as they sell Lesotho to other nations through international pageants. These ladies do not only reflect on the beauty of the country but also portray the aspirations of different women in the country,” Mr Molapo said.

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