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Minister warns parents


‘Don’t hide your disabled children from society because they also have rights,’ says Mamahele Radebe     

’Mantoetse Maama

The Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture, Chinese Embassy, Eddy Poone Foundation and Rotary Club of Maseru on Wednesday presented two young ladies living with disabilities with an assortment of presents during a moving ceremony held in Mabeleteng village in Butha-Buthe.

Ntaoleng Lesoja (16) is physically disabled, while Mosela Letšela (23) is mentally challenged, and Lesoja’s plight—which included being hidden away from society by her guardians because of her incapacity—was highlighted in the 17 August 2014 edition of the Sunday Express.

Speaking at the handover ceremony of gifts which included groceries, and two wheelchairs for Lesoja, Tourism, Environment and Culture minister ‘Mamahele Radebe said concealing children born with disabilities should be a thing of the past.

“I would like to thank the Chinese Embassy, Eddy Poone Foundation and Maseru Rotary Club for their contribution to these two young women.

“Officials from these organisations came to my office after reading an article about Lesoja in one of our local newspapers. Parents with children living with disabilities should know that times have changed and those children also have rights just like any other person. The Ministry of Social Development was established to address issues of children living with disabilities. When I first came here in August, Lesoja had been hidden away and that was painful because she also has her rights. I only met her later, and when social workers came here after reading about Lesoja’s story, they learned that there was another lady, Letšela, who had also been hidden away during my visit when Lesoja was introduced to me.

“Lesoja told us that her dream was to learn to read and write, and when her story was published, these organisations decided to help. She has been given two wheelchairs, money, a scholarship, groceries, bed and carpet. Letšela also got groceries,” Ms Radebe said.

The minister explained the Chinese embassy had bought a bed worth M4 000, and a carpet and clothing worth over M8 000 for the two children.

The manager of Eddy Poone Foundation, Tlokotsi Rankone, said after reading Lesoja’s story, the director of the company decided to sponsor the girl’s education.

“The girl was quoted in the story saying she had never been in a classroom before and her dream was to learn to read and write and this was a painful story. We decided to go to the ministry and inquire about this girl. We will take responsibility for all her educational needs and we have also provided her with a wheelchair and orthopaedic expenses,” Mr Rankone said.

A member Maseru Rotary Club, Jeff  Tsietse said it was the mandate of their organisation to help the needy.

“After reading Lesoja’s story that she does not even have a wheelchair, we decided to give her one, which is why we are here

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