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Econet gives food vouchers to learners 

Nthatuoa Koeshe

MOBILE communications giant Econet Telecom Lesotho is donating food vouchers worth M180 000 to beneficiaries of its Higher Life Foundation Lesotho initiative to cushion them from the impact of the Coronavirus (Covid-19).

The donations began on 2 June 2020 and they are earmarked for all the country’s 10 districts with each of the 180 Higher Life beneficiaries getting a M1000 voucher.

Higher Life Foundation is a philanthropic organisation founded in 1996 by Econet Telecom founder, Strive and his wife, Tsitsi Masiyiwa. Since its inception, the foundation has been supporting orphaned and vulnerable children in Africa through education and material support. The foundation was introduced in Lesotho in 2011.

Ordinarily, Higher Life Foundation offers scholarships to high school learners to enable them to complete their studies but due to the Covid-19 induced closure of schools, Econet decided to help vulnerable beneficiaries with food vouchers.

Econet public relations officer, Puleng Masoabi, on Friday said they decided to donate the vouchers because they are aware of the disadvantaged background of Higher Life Foundation beneficiaries and “it must be hard for them during this time of Covid-19”.

Ms Masoabi said only high school learners under Higher Life Foundation scholarships would be given the vouchers since they were not currently attending lessons. Other Econet beneficiaries in tertiary institutions were still getting monthly stipends since these were now operating.

“Schools are closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Some pupils depend on the meals they get from school but with schools closed, we (Econet) decided to give them the vouchers,” Ms Masoabi told the Sunday Express.

“We do not just pay school fees for these learners but Econet also takes extra measures to make sure that they are well taken care of.”

She said they were also handing out text books to learners for use at home during this period when they were not going to school due to Covid-19.

She promised they would give monthly stipends to tertiary students even beyond the month of May when their institutions of learning are normally closed. Econet-sponsored learners in Zimbabwe and eSwatini would also be given data as their only way of keeping up with their studies during the lockdown is through online learning, she added.

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