Chinese come to learners’ aid
THE China-Lesotho Fund for People to People Friendship Action on Friday donated M40 000 to cover tuition fees for 40 orphans and vulnerable students attending Masowe High School and Lesia High Schools.
The Fund also provided 40 school bags and 2 boxes of balls in a ceremony at Masowe High School in Maseru on Friday.
The donations will be shared equally to benefit 20 students from each school.
Fund President, Chen Ke Hui said the Chinese community in Lesotho had decided on the initiative which is now in its third year after realising the need to assist the vulnerable in communities in the country.
“We came in to Lesotho to start businesses but we noted there were challenges of poverty especially among orphans and vulnerable children,” Mr Ke Hui said, adding, they then formed the association and approached schools in 2014 to help select vulnerable students for assistance with school fees payments.
“The project is in its third year and we want to continue for more years because helping the needy is very important especially in education.
He said the students need to consistently pass in order to remain eligible for assistance or they would be dropped and replaced by other deserving learners.
For his part the Chinese Ambassador to Lesotho, Sun Xianghua said he was aware that the Fund had so far spent more than M100 000 in assisting the learners.
“I must take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the fund and the Chinese community for their gallant action,” Dr Xianghua said.
“The government of Lesotho has long attached great importance to the development of education. In its National Strategic Development Plan, education is given top priority, and expenditure on education accounts for one of the largest shares of the national budget.”
Dr Xianghua said just like other countries, “Lesotho also has some children who are faced with various challenges of going to school or receiving higher learning.”
“As an unwavering friend of Lesotho, the Chinese government and its people have regarded education as one of the key areas of bilateral cooperation,” Dr Xianghua said.
“Apart from the assistance of China-Lesotho Fund, I also know the Chinese business community across Lesotho, even in some of the most remote areas, has been helping children with bursaries for many years,” Dr Xianghua said, adding, “Whenever I think about these laudable deeds of the Chinese compatriots, I always feel proud of them”.
At the same occasion Education and Training Minister Motlalentoa Letsosa hailed the Chinese for their efforts which dovetailed with his ministry’s strategic goal of enhancing access to secondary education.
He said the Chinese had responded to the Lesotho government’s clarion call to different sectors for the mobilisation of resources for the provision of education.
Mr Letsosa said it was a well-known fact that a number of children were not able to proceed with their education beyond primary school due to lack of fees and this was “worrisome as it accounted for the high rate of joblessness among the youth”.
“The low transition rate into grade 8 and high dropout rate in the school system also translate into a huge wastage of resources when one considers investments made to send children to school.
“Therefore it is benefiting at this juncture to thank the Chinese Embassy and the Chinese Business Community for making a significant contribution towards the education of our children,” Mr Letsosa said.
He appealed to the students to make the most of the opportunity to secure brighter futures for themselves.
The minister also challenged other sectors to complement efforts at ensuring learners received education.