May 4, 2016

A song for you from one of our schoolsl

First of all, let me start this update by again thanking you for supporting the work of Educare Fund. In March this year, many of you rallied round to support the matching fund campaign on GlobalGiving. Some of you were new donors while many had supported our previous campaigns and a number of you have set up regular monthly donations. Regular donations are of great value to Educare Fund because they give a certain amount of stability to our fundraising by providing a guaranteed minimum monthly income. Your donations continue to change the lives of young women in Lesotho. Many of the girls you are helping support would otherwise be denied the opportunity for further education simply because of family poverty.

During my visit to Lesotho in December 2015, a colleague and I visited St Mary’s High School where Alice, one of the girls sponsored by Educare Fund currently attends. The specific reason for the visit was that this particular girl had shown rather disappointing performance at the mid-year exams held in June every year. These exams are used by schools to get an idea of how the student might perform in the end of the year exams especially in years 10 and 12. The feedback from these exams enables the school to identify gaps in the student’s learning so that remedial action can be taken. Our visit with Alice gave us the opportunity to find out why she was no longer getting good results. It turned out that her mother was very sick and the girl, on top of having to care for her mother, was herself really worried about her health. This was definitely having an adverse effect on Alice’s studies.

The good news is that at the end of the year Alice did pick up on her studies and obtained a rather good 2nd class pass. Her story of being a young carer is unfortunately not unique as it is not uncommon for girls of her age to have to care either for a sick parent and sometimes younger siblings as well. This responsibility for younger siblings is indeed the case for Timello. Here’s what she says:

My father died 12 years ago and since then my mother has been struggling to make ends meet. \it has been very difficult for her to pay my school fees especially since I got to high school. In the end she had to go look for work in South Africa (slightly better paid) and now I am left with the responsibility of looking after my younger brother and sister.

At sixteen years of age, it would be hard enough for Timello to have sole responsibility for herself, let alone having to take care of younger siblings. Needless to say, without your help, she would have the added burden of worrying about whether or not her school fees would be paid. This would clearly have a huge negative impact on her performance at school.

Attached to this report is the video recorded at St Mary’s High School. The girls hope that you enjoy their singing. We certainly did.

Here's the YouTube link for the video:

https://youtu.be/CW_g_1nrH2w

I hope you enjoy it!

Till next time.

Warm regards

 

Liphethiso Monica Harris

Feb 4, 2016

You've done it again!!

Dear everyone

It gives me great pleasure to have this chance to update you on what has been a year of yet another successful partnership between you the donors, Educare Fund , the girls and their families. Here's what  your donations helped to achieve:

  • Supported the campaigns which raised a whopping £2280 in total during 2015.
  • Helped 10 girls finish high school. There were 3 1st class passes, including one with a set of straight A's. 
  • Saw 6 girls progress from year 10 to year 11. This group did really well too, with one of the girls achieving a 1st class pass with merit and the rest quite a decent set of grades.

On previous visits to Lesotho, Liphethiso has usually visited the schools to meet the girls and get some measure of the impact of your donations. Last December the visit was later than usual and the schools had already closed for the Christmas break. However, two of the schools managed to arrange for the girls’ parents (or guardians) to come to the school for a short meeting. This was possible because they either worked nearby in the industrial area, or they lived near the schools.

The meeting was Liphethiso’s first opportunity to meet and talk to the parents of any of the girls we support. It was a real honour to talk to these ladies and get their perspective. All three work at the factories nearby and are the sole support for their children. One of the ladies is actually an aunt of one of the girls. The girl is an orphan and the aunt is raising her along with her own kids. In her own words, ‘Mathabang  said:

 'The support from Educare Fund makes the money I get from the factory work stretch a bit further to enable me to afford food, transport and the rest of the uniform. Without it I would really struggle. My niece is a very good girl who works really hard. I want a different life for her. I don’t want her to struggle like me.'

 One lady is a widow and has four kids to raise on her own. The two older ones have finished high school but it was a huge struggle for her to keep them in school.  Mamotsamai  says:

The pay I get from factory work is too low to enable me to look after my children’s needs especially the younger ones still at school. I feel bad that among other things I can’t afford to pay for them to go on educational trips when these are arranged by the school. However, the money that Educare Fund provides pays for all of the school fees for my girl, which means that I can now afford food, and such things as her bus fare to get to school and also for me to go to work. It is such great help.

Makananelo also works in a factory nearby.  She agrees with the other ladies that the support from you all has made a huge difference to her family. She said;

 The money from Educare Fund can be described as giving my child access to ‘free education‘  in that at her school, it pays all of the school fees, removing that burden from my shoulders. With the fees paid, my pay can go towards other needs. I do hope the people who give this money will continue to help other families with the same problems.

 All of the ladies described a scenario which is common to a lot of families in Lesotho. Anyone who is working, no matter how low paid, has to contend with an expectation that they can help and support members of the extended family who are worse off than them. All these women would have an extra 15 to 20 people who depend on them. The stories that these ladies told are only a sample, but it is clear what huge difference your donations are making to these lives. They all expressed the hope that twith your support, their children would have a better life than they themselves are having.

Thank you once again and let’s go forward and make 2016 another success story. Our first campaign for 2016 is coming up in a few weeks.time at the beginning of March. I know I can count on your support.

Please feel free to send any questions or comments if you have any.

Kind regards

 

Liphethiso Monica

Nov 10, 2015

So many dreams!

Let me start this report by expressing our huge gratitude for your support for the work of Educare Fund during this year. I would especially like to thank you all for supporting our fundraising campaigns on GlobalGiving. This has resulted in a number of new unique donors, both on a one-off as well as a recurring basis. In the last two months, the matching fund campaigns we participated in raised a total of £338 ($513.48). In the local currency in Lesotho, this money is enough to power up to 7 girls through one year of high school when added to what their families contribute. How amazing is that!

The girls continue to work hard toward achieving their dreams for a bright future and in their own words; the support with school expenses represents a huge weight off their young shoulders, enabling them to concentrate on their school work without the constant fear of being laid off school. Many of the girls rely on their grandmothers’ pension (about $40/ 550 ZAR a month) for all their needs, including school fees.

 Liteboho is in the final year of high school this year. Here’s what she says:

 'I’m really grateful for your support. My parents are both not working and were struggling to pay my school fees. If I hadn’t been lucky enough to be sponsored by Educare Fund, I would not have got this far with my education. Now I’m really optimistic about achieving my dream of becoming a medical doctor in the future.'

 Palesa is also in the final year of high school and dreams of becoming an accountant in the future. She writes:

'I’m very happy to have this opportunity to write and thank you for your support and to tell you my hopes and dreams for the future. I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for having given me financial assistance since 2013 up to now. Being an accountant is my dream. I plan to work hard to make it happen.'

 It is such an honour to be part of these young people’s support system through enabling them to continue their paths toward a bright future.  In her letter Kananelo says:

'Your gift of sponsorship means I no longer have to worry about whether or not I can continue with my education. This also helps my parents who previously struggled to keep up with the payment of school fees. Now I can see my dream of becoming a teacher in the future becoming a reality.'

 Trawling through the ‘thank you’ letters the girls have sent reveals that the most popular future career this year is accountancy. This is closely followed by medicine, with one or two girls thinking about teaching, mechanical engineering and air traffic control as possible careers to pursue. They all voice their joy at being given the opportunity to change their own lives.

I hope I can speak for you too in saying that it is such a joy being part of this process of life changing effort. Not only is it a joy, but it is also a privilege.

Thank you again for supporting Educare Fund. I will be visiting Lesotho in Next month and I hope to have a chance to meet and talk to some of these young ladies. Watch this space for feedback on their progress!

Liphethiso Monica Harris

 
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