Vodacom creates synergies to assist the needy



DOUGIES Kitchen's Douglas Muller dishes food to some of the vulnerable members of the community in Maseru on Tuesday.
DOUGIES Kitchen’s Douglas Muller dishes food to some of the vulnerable members of the community in Maseru on Tuesday.

Rethabile Pitso

VODACOM Lesotho (VCL) has partnered with various organisations in its “Random Acts of Kindness” campaign which aims to make the cold months more bearable for vulnerable communities, Vodacom Lesotho Foundation Coordinator, Kathleen McCarthy has revealed.

Ms McCarthy made the remarks on Tuesday during a feeding programme for underprivileged children and homeless people VCL is undertaking in collaboration with Alliance Insurance Company and Dougies Kitchen in Maseru. The Winter Soup Kitchen, as the initiative is called, operates from Dougies Kitchen near Pioneer circle.

She said the companies had been providing vulnerable and homeless people with a hot meal consisting of hot soup and bread for breakfast on Tuesdays and Fridays since last month, adding that the campaign would last until 1 September. Once a month, the vulnerable groups are also treated to a hearty meal that includes pap, meat and vegetables.

“Through the Vodacom Lesotho Foundation, VCL has embarked on initiatives such as this one throughout the country with the aim to make winter more comfortable for everyone, especially vulnerable groups such as children who live in the streets,” said Ms McCarthy.

“VCL, Alliance Insurance Company and Dougies Kitchen have been coming together on Tuesdays and Fridays to offer one meal a day to these children who face daily hardships on the streets. We started on 10 July and will end the programme on 1 September.”

The Vodacom Lesotho Foundation is the corporate social responsibility arm of VCL and a subsidiary of the Vodafone Group Foundation.

It operates as a separate legal entity from VCL with the aim of helping address various development challenges in areas that are in line with the government’s National Strategic Development Plan.

She said the Vodacom Lesotho Foundation had also partnered with Sepheo, a charity organisation that works with children living and working on the streets in Maseru.

“Sepheo has been doing a good job in its efforts to reunite some of the estranged children with their families or finding them homes,” Ms McCarthy said.

“This organisation has reduced the number of children living in the street by at least 50 percent since last year. It has been great partnering with Alliance Insurance Company and Sepheo towards such a noble initiative and I urge other corporates to get on board to broaden our reach and achieve even more.”

She said the foundation had also partnered with the Little Feet Foundation in a campaign to challenge every Mosotho to conduct an act of kindness in the coming weeks. Little Feet Foundation is a non-profit organisation providing psychological services to children in child care facilities and orphanages in Lesotho and South Africa.

“We want people to remember that every small act of kindness can go a long way in changing someone’s life, so we are challenging people to take a photo of themselves doing a kind act and post it on the Little Feet Foundation’s Facebook page. The photo with the most likes will each week be selected for a prize,” she said.

The programme to assist vulnerable groups, Ms McCarthy said, would also reach those living in districts beyond Maseru.

“We have given over 120 jackets and over 120 blankets to Phelisanong orphanage for vulnerable children in Leribe. We have also given 60 foam mattresses to SOS Centre in Quthing this week and are planning a trip to Butha-Buthe next week to assist some projects being undertaken by groups of grandmothers who are raising their abandoned grandchildren,” she added.

“We consulted with these orphanages to establish what their needs were and the items we have been giving away address their specific problems. We wanted to find out what it was that we could provide to make the winter more comfortable for them since we are a company that provides solutions to problems.”

On her part, Alliance Insurance Company Marketing Manager, Limakatso Mokobocho, said the two days in which they were holding the feeding programme complemented the efforts of other organisations which were conducting similar initiatives on different days.

“We believe there are other existing campaigns similar to this one, which take place on different days hence we decided to cook for them on Tuesdays and Fridays,” Ms Mokobocho said.

“This campaign is one of the ways we would like to show Basotho that Alliance Insurance Company cares for children and they are our responsibility.

“It is not good for any person to survive on only one meal a day or to sleep out in the cold, and we have teamed up to act in the best interests of these destitute children. That is why we decided on hot food such as soup and stews.”

She added: “When children are cared for and shown love, they become less of a danger to society. We therefore wish to invite more corporate bodies to contribute towards campaigns that provide for vulnerable children.”

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