Meet the model with a big heart

By: Nthatuoa Koeshe
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MASERU - 'Mamahlape Matsoso from ha Abia who is now studying towards a degree in geography and environmental science at Monash University in South Africa.

At only 21, the young woman has achieved a lot and she now longs to give a helping hand to the world and make change.

Matsoso competed for the Face of Lesotho among 15 other girls in 2012 and she made it to the top as the second princes. She then became Miss World Lesotho 2013 where she represented the country in Indonesia.

Speaking to Public Eye Online, she explained how it made her proud to see that she was able to step out of her comfort zone and prove dreams can come true. Matsoso said this was a stepping stone for her to reach out to younger girls in Lesotho and to assure them that whatever they put their minds to can be achieved as long as they work hard.

In 2013, Matsoso also became the face of Elizabeth Creations boutique at Maseru Mall where she be- came their model.

Matsoso is the founder and president of a growing charity named after her, the Mamahlape Matsoso Foundation which she said she won't say much about at the moment since it is still work in progress but revealed she had been fortunate enough to get her firrst generous sponsor for the foundation. She flatly refused to identify the sponsor.

"The foundation secures educational funds for less privileged children and provides school tools. In a nutshell the foundation seeks to ensure that more children are put in schools," she said.

Matsoso showed that she was quite excited and wanted to help en- sure that every child gets educated no matter their circumstances.

She said the percentage of youths dropping out of schools caught her attention as she realized that most of children are not dropping out because they do not want to go to school, but sometimes its because they cannot afford school fees and cannot afford all the tools needed at school so in the end they just drop out.? Matsoso worked as an intern for Africa Fashion International (AFI), at the Mercedes Benz fashion week in Johannesburg in 2016 where she revealed she learnt a lot including about togetherness.

"The Young African Leaders initiative is a project by US President Barack Obama that was formed to spur growth among young African leaders who are already making an impact in their communities; to guide them and equip them with all they need in leadership".

She said from the project she gained a number of things, among which she learnt about "ubuntu" and togetherness.

"There is no way in the world one person can solve anything alone but working together and uniting brings better change which reminded me of the Sesotho proverb that goes 'Ntja peli hae hloloe ke sebata' (which loosely translated means people are more e effective working together)," she said.

An alumnus of the young African leaders' initiative regional leadership centre for southern Africa, Matsoiso said after interacting with a few leaders at the young African leaders' initiative cohort 2 in Midrand, South Africa, she realized Africans had similar challenges.

"I spend a month at the leadership center where I got to network with a lot of people who shared the same interest as I have and we realized that our countries seemed to suffer from the same problems. In the end we decided to form an organization called DOSA (Development Organization of Southern Africa) to address the first 3 sustain- able development goals.

She told Public Eye Online that DOSA founded by young African leaders around the SADC region: from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Mauritius, Botswana, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Malawi; is one of the projects that President Obama holds close to his heart.

Dosa, where Matsoso is a programmes director and president of the organization in Lesotho, seeks to address poverty eradication, food security and good health and well-being.

Mamatsoso says her goal is to build a better Africa for all, and to see the cliche "United we stand divided we fall" being put into practice across the continent.

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