Standard Bank donates to education project

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SLB Chief Executive Mpho Vumbukani (left) wit Nalane Incorporated founder Mathata Mpela.
SLB Chief Executive Mpho Vumbukani (left) wit Nalane Incorporated founder Mathata Mpela.

’Mantoetse Maama

STANDARD Lesotho Bank (SLB) has partnered with Nalane Incorporated in an after-school programme for over 300 primary school pupils worth M100 000 to improve basic numeracy and literacy among vulnerable groups.

Dubbed, Adopt-a-School, the project entails a feeding programme for orphaned and vulnerable children at St James and Tsosane primary schools in Maseru, as well as training and remuneration of tutor-councillors who have been employed to assist the institutes.

Speaking at the Adopt-a-School sponsorship handover ceremony in Maseru yesterday, SLB Chief Executive Mpho Vumbukani said the bank’s involvement in the initiative was in line with their endeavour to uplift the lives of communities by investing in children’s education.

“Education is the foundation of life and indeed our economy, so we are pleased that we are entering into a partnership that is intended to nurture future leaders early in their formative years because a good tomorrow starts today,” said Mr Vumbukani.

“The primary school kids whose lives will be touched by this initiative are also destined to be our customers in the future, so for us it goes beyond helping, but planting a crop of customers for tomorrow.”

According to Mr Vumbukani, the project is meant to decrease the numbers of pupils who drop out or repeat grades at primary schools. It is also targeted at orphans and vulnerable children by providing them with meals and psycho-social support as well as ensuring they have access to improved learning experiences that include homework, test preparation assistance, reading as well as group and individual counselling.

He paid tribute to the brainchild of the initiative, Mathata Mpela from Nalane Incorporated, who started the project last year. Nalane Incorporated is a non-governmental youth development organisation whose primary aim is to provide inclusive and comprehensive after-school programmes for children and the youth of Maseru, many of whom have been orphaned and vulnerable.

“Mr Mpela piloted the project without any sponsorship at St James Primary and Tsolo government school last year,” Mr Vumbukani said. “With all his vigour and determination, the programme continues to thrive and we felt that it is a worthy cause that we are extremely happy to support.”

In addition to the donation, he said SLB staff would also volunteer their time in providing tutorial support, reading sessions and mentorship to the children.

Said Mr Vumbukani: “We are also embarking on financial education and inclusion and we believe that this is the generation we should mostly target in order to create the best leaders of tomorrow; hence I will still remind everyone that even our Hippo Children Account has become a tool in ensuring that the little ones are well equipped on time.

“We have no doubt that the initiative will be useful for our children in the future.”

He also urged Mr Mpela and his team to employ proper reporting procedures and ensure academic improvement to enable SLB to ask other corporates to also assist in the initiative.

On his part, Mr Mpela expressed his gratitude for the support they received from Standard Lesotho Bank, adding that an evaluation of the pilot phase of the project had revealed that the programme was a resounding success.

“When I began to look at the situation in our beloved country, I was taken aback by the increasing rate of orphaned and vulnerable children,” he said.

“In our country, nearly 366 000 children were listed as orphaned and vulnerable. I also found that the drop-out rate at primary schools was 54 percent.

“In 2014, St James achieved a 98 percent pass rate with four students in the top 10 whilst Tsolo increased the pass rate up to 86 percent.”

Mr Mpela added that the programme had also provided employment opportunities to many qualified tutors who had hitherto been jobless.

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