MOST, if not all of us, will be familiar with the old saying that charity begins at home. This can be taken as an exhortation to people to take up the initiative of addressing challenges that present themselves within our own communities.
We should not always be waiting for outsiders to come in and assist even in situations where we can lend a helping hand. One does not have to be super-rich to help others. As Basotho, we should make it out duty to assist our fellow countrymen and women with whatever little we have before we even think of extending the begging bowl to outsiders.
We often pride ourselves on a being a Christian nation and it is time we followed the Biblical teachings that state that “it is more blessed to give than to receive”. Other faiths also encourage giving to those who are less fortunate than ourselves.
Elsewhere in this edition, we have two stories that perfectly illustrate why we need to give and not just wait for handouts from outsiders.
In one of the stories, we report that the World Food Programme (WFP) has secured US$2 million funding to assist 44 000 Basotho who are experiencing food shortages in four districts.
The WFP says the money will be used to purchase food for people in the Mokhotlong, Thaba Tseka, Maseru and Qacha’s Nek districts.
The German government and the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) each contributed US$1 million to enable the WFP to launch the lean season assistance programme for food insecure households in the four districts from October 2021 to March 2022.
The WFP and its donors immediately swung into action after last month’s warning by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) that beginning this month, food insecurity in most households in Lesotho will increase and possibly reach “crisis” levels.
FEWS NET said the expected crisis was due to the depletion of many households’ food stocks from the 2020/21 harvests. Many families will therefore rely on market purchases of maize meal to augment their food supplies. However, they will have to dig deeper into their pockets as maize meal prices are at a five-year high and likely to increase further in January 2022, FEWS NET warned.
We have not heard what our government intends to do about the food situation. This is despite that those who are in power were elected on the back of promises to address such challenges. Perhaps they will do the usual thing of launching appeals for assistance from international development partners. They will certainly plead poverty but they are never slow in doling out allowances and other perks to ministers, MPs and other government officials.
But charity begins at home. It is a given that every year, at these times, we experience these food shortages. By now the government should be on top of the situation. With the right kind of planning, it should not be difficult to feed an entire nation of just 2, 1 million people. This figure is smaller than the population of Soweto in South Africa or even Harare in Zimbabwe.
The other story is about 19-year-old Nthuseng Monyopi who is in desperate need of financial assistance to get treatment for painful tumour on her head which is constantly oozing blood and pus.
Her family also needs help to buy food. They sometimes go for days without eating anything. They are asking for donations and they have even provided a number where they can receive money through the MPESA mobile money platform. The number is 5786 3684.
The number is registered under the name ‘Mamorongoe Tsietsi.
Again, we say charity begins at home. Let us assist our fellow Basotho. Let us not wait for international wishers. If they come it is well and good but let us do what we can. Let us develop a culture of giving instead of always spending the little we have on hazardous substances and drunken revelries.