Our Childhood Education and Well-Being Programme is aimed at the poorest and most disadvantaged of the children in the community, many of them orphans and all of them vulnerable.
Through our programmes we aim to give these children as good a life-chance as any other child. Our support is offered in many ways:
The Breakfast Club is for all the children in these programmes. We provide a breakfast of papa (porridge) and fruit every school day for 90 children - 20 Pre-School and 70 older children - who would otherwise go hungry. Their teachers and carers notice that this aids their development and helps them concentrate at school. Primary school children in Lesotho get a government-sponsored lunch at school, but for many children these meals are all they will eat all week, due to the intense poverty of the country.
Our Pre School Programme is for children aged three to five years. The teaching is based on the Aistear framework used in Ireland, with its four principles of Communication, Exploring & Thinking, Wellbeing & Identity, and Belonging. This has been highly effective in supporting and expanding academic ability as well as building confidence, life skills and a sense of community in the children.
The Homework Club provides space and learning support for older children. The children help each other and are developing a love of learning. We have seen good improvement in their exam results over the past years. Staff liaise with school teachers to ensure the programme connects closely with curriculum expectations.
The Weekend Programme runs from 10am until 3pm on Saturdays and Sundays and includes a healthy lunch. It gives the children an opportunity to play together in a safe space and to enjoy creative activities, games and play and engage in the planning and direction of the programme activities. We also teach the children horticulture, including taking care of the vegetable beds: we have recently planted spinach, rape, carrots, beetroot, etc. Sometimes the children also help elderly people in the village with their gardens. When the schools are closed we continue with a similar range of activities in our Holiday Programme.
Lepoqong Home Care Programme: Some needy children live too far away to attend our centre at Ha Maqele. At present 51 children in Lepoqong receive food packages which are delivered to their homes at the end of every month.
High School Programme: Secondary schooling is not free in Lesotho, so many children do not progress beyond primary school, because their families cannot afford the fees. We ensure that as many children as possible gain access to government scholarships, and we provide help with fees, books and uniforms to many others.