Relief for child-headed Ha-Matšaba family

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Rethabile Pitso

A CHILD-HEADED family’s dream of decent accommodation finally came true in Ha-Matšaba village, Maseru after Standard Lesotho Bank (SLB) and Habitat for Humanity Lesotho (HHL) collaborated in building them a two-roomed dwelling.

The mother and father of the Koloti siblings died in 1996 and 2008 respectively, leaving the now 23-year old firstborn girl child to take care of her 16-year old twin brothers and her own children. Since the death of their parents, the family had been living on their own in a derelict one-roomed house.

In her address during the handover ceremony on Tuesday, SLB Head of Marketing ‘Makeabetsoe Mabaleha said the financial services institution had donated M60 000 towards the building the house and a ventilated pit latrine which is commonly known as a “VIP” toilet.

She said they came to know of the Koloti family’s plight through their partnership with HHL to assist the underprivileged.

“A few years ago, we partnered with HHL to improve the lives of the communities we serve, and we have since embarked on many projects in that regard,” Ms Mabaleha said.

“It was through this partnership that SLB came to learn of the plight of these children who are basically raising themselves.”

She also urged the beneficiaries to find ways of earning a living and not merely expecting donations from well-wishers.

“I urge you not to sit around waiting for more donations but to take it upon yourselves to seek income generating opportunities that can sustain you in the long-term,” said Ms Mabaleha.

“In addition to building the house, we also ploughed on some nearby land on your behalf, and hopefully, you will put the land to good use.”

HHL National Director ‘Mathabo Makuta echoed the remarks by lauding the relationship between the two organisations which had resulted in many needy people receiving assistance.

“SLB has always heeded the call to assist vulnerable people in need of homes and the house we are giving away today is one of the many we have donated to people without proper accommodation,” she said.

“This initiative is one of the many we have undertaken in Mapoteng, Berea district and Ha-Matala in Maseru district.”

Ms Makuta said the donation was the third HHL had made for members of the Ha-Matsaba community.

“We are happy to share with you that two other households in this area with vulnerable children are some of our beneficiaries,” she said.

“This highlights the need for other organisations to assist us in our attempts to provide safe homes to vulnerable children. HHL cannot do it alone, so we are grateful to SLB for their unwavering support.”

On behalf of the government, the Ministry of Social Development Director ‘Mants’enki Mphalane appealed to the powers that be in the area to ensure the newly-built dwelling was not taken away by the Koloti siblings’ relatives.

“I wish to ask the chief and council officers to ensure this property is not taken by relatives who may later emerge and say they are the rightful owners instead of these youngsters,” she said.

“We don’t want to hear of people dragging each other to court over this issue because it has already been settled that this house was built for these children alone. So please help us guard against such people.”

Ms Mphalane added: “In many child-headed homes, children often fall prey to abuse, so we plead that you keep an eye on these children against such vices. We also appeal to them to ensure these children start attending school as we have established that two of the older ones are not getting any education.”

For her part, the Koloti siblings’ great-grandmother, ‘Matsotleho Mapa said she was grateful for the gesture.

“We are grateful to the contributors to this great gift today and we wish you God’s blessings. Thank you for putting a roof on these children’s heads,” she said.

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