LESOTHO: Salesian Missions donor provides funding allowing young girl from poor family to attend school
The donation helped pay for a young girl from the local community to attend the Salesian-run St. Luke’s Parish primary school.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (April 10, 2019) A young girl was able to start school at the Salesian-run St. Luke’s Parish primary school in Maputsoe, a town located in the northern district of Leribe in Lesotho, thanks to a Salesian Missions donor. The donation helped to support the school and ensure that the young girl will gain an education along with her peers.
The child is the second born in a family of three siblings. Her older sister, who is 13, attends school. Her mother is a domestic worker in one of the houses near St. Luke’s Parish and has been working to support her family since her first year of marriage. Her husband has never supported efforts to raise the children. He works in South Africa but does not send money home.
The family is not able to afford their own housing so instead they live where the mother works. The young girl used to wave to the children passing by her on their way to and from school and the Salesian Sisters who operate the school took notice. The mother indicated that her small salary only allows her to send her oldest child to school. Now with funding provided from the Salesian Missions donor, the young girl is able to go to school with her peers. She is very happy at the school and is able to learn, play and access three meals a day.
“We are grateful to our donor whose contribution allows a child to attend school and gain an education,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Education is a path out of poverty and primary education lays the foundation for later learning. Salesian schools ensure that children are learning the skills needed to become responsible adults and find and retain employment.”
Salesian missionaries in Maputsoe have been working in the region since 1980. Saint Luke’s Parish is one of the largest missions in the Diocese of Leribe. There are preschools, primary schools and high schools which are operated in partnership with Salesian Sisters from Mary Help of Christians as well as a large oratory run by the Salesian community.
The Salesian Sisters also run the Mazzarello Craft Center where young women learn sewing and tailoring skills and have access to business studies, health, economy and leadership training. In addition, the Salesian Sisters operate the Ferrando Resource Center for children with disabilities.
Lesotho is one of the smallest countries in Africa and is classified as one of the least developed nations in the world by the United Nations Development Programme. According to the World Bank, more than 75 percent of the population of Lesotho lives in rural areas. More than half (57.1 percent) of the country’s 1.9 million people live below the national poverty line and close to 30 percent are living in extreme poverty.
Hunger has always been an issue in the country but particularly poor performance in agriculture over the past few years has contributed to the ongoing problem. In 2016, it was estimated that one in three would be in dire need of food aid in order to survive, and this has led to conflict in communities.
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