Help Lesotho wrestles illiteracy in Pitseng



MASERU – Illiteracy is now a thing of the past in Pitseng, thanks to Help Lesotho for building the community a library as a way of promoting literacy. Located in Leribe district Pitseng has two schools, namely; Guardian Angel Primary School and Pitseng High school, which have been twinned with schools in Canada also assisted by Help Lesotho. In an interview with Public Eye Help Lesotho Country Director ‘Mamoletsane Khati said the library accommodates both young people and the elderly. She said the purpose of building the library was a way of trying to reach out to children in that area by giving them access to freedom to play and learn new things. She said since Pitseng is on the outskirts of Hlotse town, the community has no access to services.

“Though Pitseng is surrounded by a few schools there are no services so we thought it was important to do something for those kids by bringing services closer to them. We are empowering youth in terms of education, as well as the elderly to be resilient and stay healthy. It is a fact that those children do attend school but have no resources, therefore they end up not performing well in their studies.

“We want to assist those children to be able to perform well in their studies. It is important for them to have learning materials to better equip them in their studies. We have about four or five schools around the centre and to make it better for these learners to excel in their studies, we have to make it easier for them to learn by providing them with learning materials and that is what the library is for as well,” she said.

Khati said they have facilities for primary school learners such as play grounds, and activities such as assisting them with homework. There is also a junior library for them to learn how to use a library, how to choose a book as well as encourage them to read. She added that they also have board games, such as chess and scrabble, as a way of developing their thinking capacity. She added that they have programmes for young mothers where they teach them how to fend for themselves and be good mothers.

She added that they also have programmes for the elderly where they help them build resilience and communication skills with their grandchildren. She said they also sponsor some of the learners at Pitseng and Khethisa high schools whose parents cannot afford to pay school fees. During the official opening of the library at Pitseng Seotlong Centre last Friday, Help Lesotho Founder and Executive Director, Peg Herbet, said when she came to Lesotho, there were no resources in the entire area of Pitseng. She recalls how she was disheartened that children, youth and community members had no place to go for help, no library or chance to gain new strategies to learn about HIV prevention and treatment to reduce Gender-Based Violence (GBV) as well as to learn to believe in themselves.

“Opened on June 8, 2008, the centre was built entirely by local people including some youth. The centre has welcomed over 100, 000 visits since it opened and in 2016, we added a computer lab then in 2021 we replaced the play structure. Besides computer and life skills programmes, the centre also offers after school/weekends drops in programmes such as tutoring or library time, sports, play structure, logical games, arts and crafts, movies and dance clubs.

“The new library is a special place where youth and adults could improve their literacy skills, have a quiet space to think about their decisions and future, and gather with their fellow learners to explore the magic and wonders between the covers of books,” she said.  On behalf of the community, Sister Julia Mputsoe said the library will equip many people, adding that Help Lesotho has done a great job by creating programmes for the youth and the elderly as well as paying school fees for so many children to learn. She said they are aware of Help Lesotho’s presence in Thaba-Tseka, Botha-Buthe, Leribe, Berea and Quthing and are doing wonderful things for those people too.

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