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Girls turn to streets after sister gets married

Tsitsi Matope


MASERU — Two orphaned sisters aged 12 and 14 are now living on the streets after their elder sister who was fending for the child-headed family in Ha Leqele got married in March.

A woman who saw them fight with some boys near Check Out Supermarket on Friday and pitied them, took them to the child welfare office at the Ministry of Social Development.

According to the social welfare officer, ‘Maletsie Khoete, the girls disappeared while officials were arranging transport to take them to their grandmother’s home in Mokema village near Roma.

Khoete suspected the youngest of the girls, who claimed they had been on the streets for two months, might have been sexually abused.

“I am concerned because she had a swollen face and claimed a certain boy beat her and attempted to sexually assault her.

“She could not explain further because the elder sister signalled her not to open up about the sexual assault attempt,” Khoete

However, she explained they had instructed them to wait outside while they worked on the transport issue.

“When I went to check on them, they were nowhere to be found and I suspect they returned to the streets.

“We are planning to trace them around town and make efforts to reunite them with their family.”

Khoete said the two girls had explained life had become tough since their 17-year-old sister got married.

“She was the one who had been running around to provide for the family since their father and mother died in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

“After the sister got married, they claimed she had stopped supporting them.”

In a separate case handled by the social welfare this week, a 13-year-old boy who is also a drug addict was reunited with his family in Maputsoe on Thursday.

The boy was brought to the social welfare office by some street vendors who noticed he was new in town and had been sleeping on the streets for days.

They also noticed he was always under the influence of either alcohol or drugs.

“The boy had sometime last week ran away from his uncle’s home to live on the streets where he would be free to do whatever he wanted,” Khoete said.

She explained the boy’s mother had died when he was four years old and since then, he had been staying with an aunt in Ficksburg, South Africa.

“We managed to trace the aunt who explained she had brought the boy to Lesotho because he was using drugs.”

The boy attends school in Maputsoe.

“Apparently, there was no element of ill-treatment as we had suspected. The uncle said his nephew, who is in class four, was doing well at school and the only problem was that he smoked dagga.

“We are therefore working on a rehabilitation plan to help him,” Khoete said.

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