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A Royal Night of Goodness and Giving

. . .as guests brave the cold in aid of the Queen’s National Trust Fund

Tsitsi Matope and Mohalenyana Phakela

It was a bitterly cold Friday evening but the severe weather could not deter those passionate about Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Seeiso’s noble cause to educate and empower Lesotho’s disadvantaged children.

Friday’s gala-dinner-dance at the Maseru Sun Hotel was to fundraise for the Queen’s National Trust Fund, which continues to help Basotho from disadvantaged backgrounds realise their dreams, and came four days after Her Majesty celebrated her 38th birthday on 2 June.

It is because of her love for the development of children, which attracted scores of people from all walks of life to the
gala-dinner to share and support this noble cause.

While the event was dominated by classic music, the finest wine on the market, a variety of dishes and the latest fashion, nothing could beat the humble nature of the Royal couple, which has never changed since their marriage in 2000.
Her Majesty — the Lady of the moment — looked royally graceful in her full-length gown, while her husband, His Majesty King Letsie III, was equally superb in his black royal suit.
His Majesty looked comfortable among his people as he chatted and laughed
his heart out as he engaged all and sundry.

There were also smiles galore around Her Majesty, as she mingled easily with guests, yet her determination to liberate children from the shackles of poverty, rang loud and clear in her official speech of the night.
“The Goodness of Giving” was the catchphrase for the night and also the theme of the occasion.

It is no surprise that the Trust came up with such a theme, which illuminates the spirit of love that inspired its establishment by the late Queen ‘Mamohato Bereng Seeiso in 1985.

What is also touching is the fact that the late Queen ‘Mamohato successfully managed to plant her good desire to unite the country and change the circumstances of underprivileged children to her daughter-in-law, Queen ‘Masenate Seeiso.

In her speech, the Queen said the theme denotes love, integrity, honesty and compassion to others, which are also the attributes that inspired the establishment of the Trust Fund.
“This theme implores us to be generous. This is because it is a good deed to be generous to those less-fortunate. There is evidence that, globally, we have a high number of needy children, with Lesotho being one of the hard-hit countries. This sad situation translates into increased demands on the meagre resources of the Trust Fund,” Her Majesty said.

She further said what motivated the fundraising gala was the understanding that there was more to the raising of a child than providing education alone.
“Every child needs proper nurturing, both physically and emotionally. Every child needs love, care and support. Indeed, every child needs a happy, healthy and stable environment. I therefore, take this opportunity to sound a clarion call to all of us here and other stakeholders out there, to participate in taking the responsibility of guiding, supporting in different ways and encouraging children to grow up as responsible citizens.
“Let us remember our African adage that it takes the whole village to raise a child. It would make me happy if all stakeholders can actively play their role in raising the quality of life for our children in need.
“My sincere hope is that one day, all children will be assisted to achieve their full potential, in order for them to become useful and productive members of this country.”

Her Majesty also said although she would like to see the Trust Fund continue to grow and impacting on many vulnerable households, it has, nevertheless, made great strides to assist in the education of children.
“The number of students under the patronage of the Trust Fund continues to increase steadily, thanks to the support from various partners. Currently, the Trust has funded the education of more than 300 students countrywide.
“I am happy to say that since we started giving grants to our children, 70 have completed their high school education, with some having done so, meritoriously. Tonight, we can take pride in the fact that some of our students have enrolled at various institutions of higher learning, including the National University of Lesotho and the University of the Free State.”

The Queen added she was humbled to know that many people shared her passion for child-development through education.
“The fact that so many of you have left the comfort of your homes on this very cold night and travelled long distances to contribute to this event, is a powerful indication that you really care and are committed to investing in the youth by supporting their access to education.”

More support, she added, is needed to sustain the Trust Fund and reach out to more vulnerable children in many parts of the country.
“The struggle is not yet over. It is with utmost humility that I, once again, plead with our loyal supporters, partners, friends of the Trust, invited guests and all of you to keep on supporting us to achieve our aim of alleviating the ever-increasing hardships our vulnerable children are confronted with.”
Later that evening, the Royal couple took time to meet and chat with the audiences while the thrilled guests had the
opportunity to have pictures taken with them.

Some Royal souvenirs were also auctioned as another innovative way to raise more funds for the children.
Items that included the royal Rabasotho Blanket, I-pads, the unique gold coin presented to His Majesty on his 50th birthday last year and other goodies, were sold to the highest bidders.

However, what really made Friday a “night of bliss” was on the dance floor where the Royal couple demonstrated they have not lost their dance-moves.

Not even the young feet present could out-dance them as they took them head-on as the DJ rolled Uhuru’s 2013 smash hit Ytjukutja.
In short, people danced the night — and cold — away.

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