HER Majesty Queen ’Masenate Bereng Seeiso is worried about many parents’ practice of abandoning their children leaving them to explore the world on their own and exposing them to various social ills.
Her Majesty said this while addressing the 10th National Queen’s Trust Fund gala dinner at a local hotel on Saturday evening.
The event was held under the theme: A solid family support unit, a guarantee to educational success and prosperity.
The Queen said the world has become so different as evidenced by the increase in the cases of physical violence in different communities and in schools.
“There are many reported incidents of physical violence in communities but most worryingly in schools, be it among the learners or by students on their teachers as well as teachers on learners,” the Queen said.
“There is also a spike in sexual violence but most telling is the fact that some of these young children have become so bold and brazen to the extent that they record such incidents and release them into the public arena, usually through social media for everyone to see.
“There is also a high rise in the abuse of alcohol and other drugs as well as all kinds of bullying.”
Her Majesty expressed concern over the early sexual activity among the youths. She said this has led to an increase of unwanted pregnancies and the spread of diseases which interrupt the children’s education.
She said other ills like gang violence are evidence that the country has lost its plot.
“We have lost the plot and we must address this problem with urgency and seriousness. Opinions vary on what might be the causes of such a major breakdown of moral fiber… one of the causal factors is strongly suspected to be the erosion or lack of parental/family support and inadequate guidance of our children.”
She attributed this to a dereliction of duty by parents who delegate the duty to raise their children to teachers when instead education must begin in the home.
She was compelled to structure the theme of this year’s event in line with the trust’s objective to invest in children’s education as a strategy to stimulate dialogue around the problems with the hope of finding a lasting solution.
She said to find real solutions, it was critical to ask pertinent questions among them if parents are giving their children sufficient support to reach their full potential and realise their academic and extra mural dreams.
“Do we think it is good enough for us to send our children to school without taking time to participate and oversee their daily progress and to find out what their individual interests, talents and aspirations are and offer them our full support?
“Do we still spend enough time to talk to our children about the facts of life, “the birds and the bees” to prepare them for the challenges that await them even as they mature and venture out into the world,” Her Majesty asked.
She said while the fourth industrial revolution was useful in aiding economic advancement and sustainable development, it has also contributed negatively to children’s exposure to some of the worst vices. She said among the vices are violence, human trafficking, cybercrime prostitution, pornography, terrorism, unbridled materialism an, reliance on drugs among others.
Her Majesty said it was unfortunate that social media has also normalised some of the social ills in young children’s psyche.
“It is against this worrisome reality that we seriously must start taking up our parental responsibility of supervision, regulation and management of our children’s time and exposure to such harmful material.
“The situation is compounded by parents who lead the kind of lives that are not conducive for young children to grow in, especially during their formative years,” Her Majesty said.
In the last decade, the fund has educated more than 600 children having started with 59.
Among its successes is Katleho Mosate, who recently attained her degree in Development and Sociology from the National University of Lesotho (NUL) but was previously a domestic worker.
Among the notable beneficiaries currently getting assistance are Lesenyeho Mahlomola, now a second year Pharmacy student at NUL but was previously a taxi conductor; and Teboho Mosothoane, who recently sat for his LGSCE exams having been a shepherd before getting assistance from the trust fund.
Chairperson of the trust, ’Malerotholi Mathealira said: “There is so much value in helping each other when all of us do our little bit to lift up each other”.
She said without the intervention of initiatives like the trust fund some children’s hopes would be doomed.