MANNINI Mosoatsi has come a long way on her challenging journey but remains resolute in her ultimate goal — that of becoming an independent professional.
Born in Koro-Koro 31 years ago with a disability that limits her mobility, Mosoatsi’s life has been a real test every step of the way.
Currently employed as a Ward Clerk at Queen ‘Mamohato Memorial Hospital after obtaining a diploma in Marketing Management at Lerotholi Polytechnic in 2010, Ms Mosoatsi has staggered from one challenge to the other but remains on her feet as she soldiers on despite the odds.
After her father died in 2004, Ms Mosoatsi’s mother took over the role of providing for the family but she also passed away in 2009, further compounding an already complex situation.
The second born among two boys and four girls, Ms Mosoatsi says the death of her parents left the family in an extremely desperate situation.
“I am the only one in my family who reached Form E. After succeeding in my academic life, I realised I was the one to put food on our table and today I am the breadwinner and looking after my siblings,” said Mosoatsi.
A product of Seleso Primary and Abia High schools, which are both located at St Angela’s Home for Disabled Children, Mosoatsi faced yet another challenge to eventually secure a place at Lerotholi Polytechnic in 2008—three years after leaving “the village” as she affectionately refers to Maseru-based St Angela’s.
“I went to the village without knowing anything about looking after myself; I only knew how to bath on my own.
“My parents didn’t want me to do anything at home since I am the only one who is physically disadvantaged in my family.
“Adjusting to life at the village was difficult at first. However, with the help of the sisters, I gradually learnt to cook, wash clothes, and do all the basic household chores any able-bodied person can do.
“And when I left the village after high school in 2005, I was now able to independently do most of my chores. I could say I am who I am today because of the teachings and guidance I received while at the village.
“I even started using crutches at the village because I never had any at home.”
According to Mosoatsi, it was during her stay at the village that she fell in love with the world of finance.
“I started dreaming about becoming an accountant while at the village. However, sometimes dreams don’t come true, but still, I didn’t give up on life.”
But the world again came tumbling down on Mosoatsi, further testing her willpower to go on in life.
“I lost my father in 2004. He had been our breadwinner and when he died, the world came crashing down on us. However, looking back today, I appreciate what my mother did as she took over the role of providing for the family. With her hard work and sacrifice, we managed to pull through that dark period in our life.”
Again after completing her high school, another test awaited Mosoatsi as she could not get a place at any of the country’s tertiary institutions for three years.
“I was finally admitted at Leritholi Polytechnic in 2008 to study Marketing Management.
“But my first time at the college was very difficult. I was using one classroom at the village and now we had to move from class to class every day, and because of my disability, I would arrive very late for a lesson in the early days.
“But with time, I adjusted and the situation became better for me.”
Yet another blow struck Mosoatsi once again, with her mother passing away in 2009.
“It was staggering when my mother passed away. This time, I felt I had lost everything since all my pillars of strength had now gone“Fortunately, our uncle came to the rescue and supported us with everything we needed to keep us going.”
After graduating in 2010, Mosoatsi was however, faced with another challenge.
“I started looking for a job but no doors were opening for me,” she recalled. “I sent applications to many companies but there was nothing for me.
“I had no option but to go back to the village where I volunteered as a Marketing Officer.”
And true to the adage that there is always a silver lining to every dark cloud, Mosoatsi finally had a breakthrough in her search for employment.
“In addition to volunteer work, I did part-time jobs. For instance, I was a Polling Officer and Voting Station Manager for the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in 2012.”
However, it was ‘Facebook’ that changed Mosoatsi’s destiny.
“In January 2014, I saw a post on Lesotho Career Assistant’s Facebook encouraging people with physical disability to apply.”
Mosoatsi took a leap of faith and submitted an application for her current position. “All I told myself was, God, I think this is for me.”
And indeed it was.
“Even though I still need more in my life, I thank God for enabling me to reach this far and making some of my dreams come true,” said Mosoatsi.
She continued: “I would want to become a Public Relations Officer one day, buy my own house and a car; that is my target now.”
After achieving financial freedom, Mosoatsi says she has no desire to tie the knot and lose her “independence”.
“I don’t want to be married because I will be ruled. For instance, my husband won’t allow me to go out with friends,” she said.
Having shed tears of joy and sorrow along her journey, Mosoatsi hasn’t forgotten her roots.
“I am a motivational speaker,” said the 2010 Miss Disability. “Once in a while, I go to the village and simply tell the children there that they can do it because I did it.”