STANDARD Lesotho Bank (SLB) has renewed for another three years its support for SOS Children’s Village to the tune of M390 000.
In his remarks during the signing and handover ceremony in Maseru on Tuesday, SLB Chief Executive Mpho Vumbukani said the renewal was necessitated by the recent expiry of the previous contract worth M360 000 which was signed in 2013.
Mr Vumbukani, who signed the contract along with SOS Board Chairman Paki Kolobe, said money would be used to cover living and educational expenses of the children living at one of the 10 SOS Children’s Village houses.
“As a bank supported by Basotho, it is very important to increase our investment in the development of the livelihoods and education of vulnerable children in Lesotho,” said Mr Vumbukani.
“Standard Lesotho Bank strives to maintain a reputable image so we chose SOS because there has never been a negative report about them misusing funds, which means there is never a time the bank’s name will be dragged in the mud.
“We sat down with Ntate Kolobe and His Majesty King Letsie III (who is the patron of SOS) in 2013 and formally entered into a partnership to support one of their houses, Tebohong House No.10, under the agreement called ‘Moving the Child Forward Initiative’, drawn from our slogan ‘Moving Forward’, meaning we want to move children’s upbringing forward within the loving homes we find at SOS.”
He said the bank was passionate about the welfare and education of orphans and vulnerable children who needed full support and care.
Mr Vumbukani also revealed under the new agreement, the bank would monitor the children’s study reports until they were mature enough to be part of the corporate world.
“Because we value this relationship and are interested in a full circle support, we have included in this new agreement the monitoring and evaluation piece,” Mr Vumbukani.
“This will allow SOS to give progress reports on these children as they go through their studies until they reach adult life and are independent enough to be integrated into mainstream society.”
He added: “Going forward, the bank will also provide financial management training, a tutorial and mentorship programme through our staff involvement initiative to assist these children to reinforce their skills and help them become great leaders.”
For his part, Mr Kolobe commended the financial institution for its support.
“We are one of the largest child-care facilities in the world which has vowed that no child should grow up alone,” he said.
“We applaud Standard Lesotho Bank for realising that every child is the responsibility of the whole village because every child should grow in a secure and loving environment.”
“We believe they decided to increase their funding by M30 000 because we account for every cent we get. To us, Standard Lesotho Bank is a blesser,” Mr Kolobe added.
SOS Children’s Village was established in 1949 by an Austrian philanthropist Dr Hermann Gmeiner who had a vision to create stable, loving families for orphaned and abandoned children. It now exists in 160 countries. The Lesotho branch opened in 1994 and currently cares for of up to 1 373 children between the ages of eight and 17. Some of the children live at SOS Children’s Village while others stay with their families outside the SOS campus.