I am pleased to report that on my last visit to Lesotho in May this year, I was able to meet with a group of our former beneficiaries (from different completion years). These young women have not only finished high school, but all have completed undergraduate degrees while one or two have actually achieved a post-graduate education. All of them continue to sing your praises, repeatedly declaring that they know that it is your kind generosity which has enabled them to get to where they are today. The most impressive thing about these young women was their offer to help the other girls still in high school. They accepted that they are not at a stage where they can make a financial contribution, but that they can help in other ways. Among other practical activities, they identified making contact with the girls still in high school and doing what they can to motivate them to work hard and aim high. They also want to help with the running of our partner organisation in Lesotho. In the same way as Educare Fund, this local organisation (Ithuteng Basetsana Educare Association, a.k.a IBEA) relies on the dedication of volunteers to carry its work forward. This way, both organisations ensure that most of the money you give goes directly to the beneficiaries. Our group of former beneficiaries also hope to help trace the others who finished high school in previous years. This would be really great!
This year’s cohort of 40 girls is working their socks off as usual. The schools normally give us feedback at the end of June so that we can see how individual girls are performing. I will share this with you once I have it. Past experience has shown that any small intervention can change the course of events for individual girls. For example, two years ago we had a girl who had a disappointing half-year report in her penultimate high school year. A visit to discuss the matter with her ensured that she changed direction and actually successfully completed high school.
Many of the class teachers and school principals are really happy that your gifts are there to help change the lives of the young women. The letters from the school authorities help not only to confirm that the beneficiary is still at the school but often to clarify the specific problems the individual girl might be experiencing. Here’s what one of them said:
As a school, we wish to express our gratitude to you for what you are doing to for the benefit of the young women of Lesotho. Your gifts to the individual girls also help the school as a whole as it improves the school’s cash flow, enabling us to keep a lot of other needy kids in school. Thank you so much.
I would like to add my own words of gratitude to those already expressed. You generosity seems to be achieving more than just getting the girls through high school but also teaches the lesson of philanthropy to others. How wonderful is that?