Project targets 24 000 orphans

MASERU — An European Union-funded project aims to assist 24 000 orphans and vulnerable children in the country by the end of this year.

The £12 million (M120 million) Child Grant Programme supports needy children by giving them money for basics such as food and clothing.

“The project is going on well since it started in 2009. We hope to continue with phase two when phase one ends in December,” social welfare director Limakatso Chisepo told a press conference to update the media on the project’s progress yesterday.

Rapelang Ramoea, the Child Grant Programme manager, said the second phase of the project would be launched after December.

He said 14 397 children from 8 000 families in five pilot districts had enrolled since the project was set up in 2009.

“We hope to reach 24 000 children by December when the first phase comes to an end.

“The grant is given to families with an average of three children. Every family receives M360 quarterly,” Ramoea said, adding that only vulnerable families qualified.

The project was piloted in Maseru, Berea, Mafeteng, Qacha’s Nek and Leribe.

Plans were now in progress to roll out the project to the country’s remaining five districts during the second phase.

The department of social welfare is carrying out the project with the assistance of World Vision Lesotho, the United Nations Children’s Fund and other non-governmental organisations.

Lesotho has about 180 000 orphans and vulnerable children, according to statistics from Unicef.

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