KING Letsie III has lauded non-governmental organisation (NGO) Help Lesotho for making a positive contribution to the lives of Basotho in the fight against HIV/AIDS by promoting education and gender equity.
His Majesty made the remarks during Help Lesotho’s 10th anniversary celebrations and International Woman’s Day commemorations at the NGO’s Hlotse Seotlong Centre in Leribe district on Friday. The event was also attended by Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Seeiso.
The Ottawa, Canada-based Help Lesotho was founded in 2004 by Peg Herbert and provides education, leadership training and psychosocial support to vulnerable groups as part of its multipronged approach to combating HIV/AIDS and poverty in the country.
In March 2010, King Letsie III who is the Help Lesotho patron, officially opened the centre on land donated by the local government and from which they have been operating since.
In his key note address, King Letsie III said Help Lesotho’s 10th anniversary was a truly historic occasion as the organisation has worked to uphold Lesotho’s culture through the traditional “gumboots” dance and Mokhibo performances by both and girls.
“For the first time ever, we saw Mokhibo being performed by boys,” said King Letsie III.
“This shows that Help Lesotho does not only speak the gender parity thing, but also practices it.”
He added that he was not giving a speech, but a vote of thanks for what Help Lesotho had accomplished since its inception in Lesotho.
“We are here to tell you how grateful we are for your support and generosity. It’s truly recognised and it’s unsurpassed,” King Letsie III said.
“I have heard testimonies here from different people about the difference Help Lesotho has made in their lives.
“We need to applaud Help Lesotho and, in the process, thank local and international donors who have ensured that their targets are met.”
Turning to the beneficiaries, His Majesty urged them to adhere to the values and principles they had been taught.
“I appeal to you to become true leaders of tomorrow and be able to drive your peers in the right direction of love and peace,” said King Letsie III.
On her part, Help Lesotho Executive Director Dr Herbert acknowledged the support of donors and Sisters of Charity based in Lesotho and Canada, adding that the organisation could not have grown without their generosity and efforts.
“It is essential to acknowledge all who have made this organisation work, where we moved from assisting one person a year, to reaching more than 10 000 direct beneficiaries annually,” Dr Herbert said.
“This organisation was founded on the principle that one person can make a difference wherever he or she is.
“All the organisation’s beneficiaries must remain as leaders and must remember that leaders never give up, which is a secret to a successful future.”