She welcomed us to her house and couldn’t hide her joy of receiving visitors to share her success and the work she is doing with the community. “Show all the people in Australia, my household has enough food and surplus to last us to the next harvest period” she said. “I want to thank the people of Australia for supporting my community to become self-sufficient” she added.
World Vision has been working with this community for the last 14 years and has helped them to become resilient by focusing on promoting kitchen veggie gardens that use organic manure, teaching the community on the best farming techniques and methods and how to preserve food for later use. World Vision also worked with the community to grow and develop high yielding seed varieties suited for the Lesotho environment and weather patterns.
The community was also provided with relevant leadership training, and awareness about the dangers of HIV/AIDS and prevention methods. The Thabiseng project is also working with the Ministries of Education and Health by providing training opportunities to both education and health service providers to ensure they learn about best practices. In addition, World Vision assisted the communities to build early learning, primary and secondary schools and health facilities to ensure children and their families have access to quality education and health services.
Visiting Matheko left me very content, satisfied, inspired and in high spirits. While the poverty levels are quite depressing at times, it is moments like these that I find the reason for continuing the work I do with World Vision. It is satisfying to see and know that people like Matheko will continue to impart their knowledge to other community members and the generations to come.
Matheko lives with her seven children and two grand-children. She harvested 20 x 50kg bags of maize, while her household only needs 10 bags to last until the next harvest. She now has the opportunity to sell the surplus. Talking to her made me realise that so many more people in her community have harvested equal or more in the last harvest period.
As if she does not have enough to do, she talked about how she has joined with other women from her community to form a support group for people affected and/or infected by HIV/AIDS. At 55 she looks healthy even though she had contracted HIV in the 1990s.
Together with her group, they raise awareness on HIV/AIDS throughout her community and provide support to those who have developed AIDS. They help people by doing chores at their households and provide food assistance from their own gardens. World Vision assists support groups with the right training and information to ensure the message of HIV/AIDS reaches all community members in the Thabiseng project.
As I said good bye, I felt so happy to be associated with communities like Thabiseng and especially with inspiring individuals like Matheko. My spirit is at peace knowing when we transition from this community, as we do with all projects after 15 years, so much good will continue. I’m reminded of the “Ubuntu” concept in South Africa which basically means “We are who we are because of others.” Thank you to the sponsors in Australia for your continued support to help others in need.