THE Queen’s National Trust Fund exceeded their M1 000 000 target on Friday during a fundraising gala-dinner-dance held amid pomp and fanfare at Maseru Sun Cabanas.
The glitzy event, which is held on an annual basis, was meant to raise funds to assist Basotho from disadvantaged backgrounds realise their dreams. It also coincided with the week Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Seeiso celebrated her 39th birthday on 2 June.
The trust fund was established by Her Majesty’s late mother-in-law, Queen ‘Mamohato Bereng Seeiso in 1985 with the aim to assist needy children access education. Over the years, thousands of disadvantaged students have had their educational tuition costs covered by the fund.
Currently, 320 secondary and high school students are benefiting from the fund while others have already graduated from various tertiary institutions.
In keeping with the of the black tie dress code, guests wore chic and stylish outfits in the case of ladies, while the men were equally modish in their formal suits.
The organisers pulled out all the stops, with a red carpet rolled out for guests as they entered the hall and ushered to their tables.
All the while, local Jazz band, Major 7, serenaded the crowd with popular Jazz and RnB songs as they tucked into a feast fit for a king with fine wines also flowing.
Elegant and graceful as ever, Her Majesty mixed and mingled with the guests accompanied by her husband King Letsie III.
Thereafter, the Royal couple once again showed that the passage of time had not eroded their dance skills as joined guests jiving to such hits as Kose Kuse courtesy of DJs Tshepzadj and Alex.
The festivities were all for the good cause of fighting the chronic poverty and limited educational opportunities for young Basotho.
Guests were asked to pledge any amount they could manage, but they did not seem to need much prodding to dig deep into their pockets.
It was not long before the target for the night, M1 000 000, was breached, with the final figure reaching M1 032 593. Among the standout benefactors was Limkokwing University of Creative Technology with M292 500 and Vodacom Lesotho which parted with M160 000. Other organisations, such as LNIG, Central Bank of Lesotho, Nthane Brothers and Lesotho Electricity Company also ranged around the M50 000 mark.
The Sunday Express’ sister paper Lesotho Times, also pitched in M10 000 towards the initiative, along with a host of other companies and individuals who gave various amounts.
In her speech, the Queen paid tribute to the benevolence of the guests who braved the plummeting temperatures to assist the underprivileged.
“Despite the unfriendly weather, you left the comfort of your homes to support a good cause and I am very pleased with the strides we have taken,” Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Seeiso said.
“Our passion has always been to support the education of Basotho children as the future leaders of this country.”
More support, she added, was needed to reach out to more children grappling with deprivation in many parts of the country.
“Despite all our efforts, we are not doing enough as the number of vulnerable children keeps increasing daily due to poverty and HIV/AIDS,” the Queen noted.
“It is through your undying support that we have managed to come this far, but our assistance in the form of school fees is not enough as these children also have basic needs and we intend to review our support mechanisms.”
The fund’s chairperson, Chieftainess ‘Malerotholi Seeiso of Mokhotlong, also said: “Charity has a vision and kindness. As long as there are tears in our children’s eyes, our work is far from over.
“Often we have witnessed children collapse at our doorstep due to hunger as they come and collect their school necessities while other girls would be covered in blood as they cannot afford to buy pads for their periods.
“We realized that our work should go beyond the classroom and cover their other basic needs, and it is our mission to change that.”