Most of you know me as Michael, but here in Lesotho I am called Karabelo, which in the local language means “the answer". I am hoping that with your help I will be able to live up to my name. Nearly three years ago I began my service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho, where I was placed at an orphanage that was home to over 20 children. Many of these children have been orphaned by the HIV/AIDS epidemic that is ravaging this country (one person in four is infected), while others have been abused, neglected, or abandoned by the only support system they have ever known. Upon my arrival at the orphanage, it was clear that the conditions at the orphanage were less than ideal. At the time there weren’t functioning dormitories, running water, latrines, or any of the other facilities required of orphanages by the government. In short, the compound was in a pretty sad state of affairs.
In response to this, I organized our first fundraising campaign where in about a month we where able to raise over 10,000 USD towards the infrastructural development of the orphanage. Throughout the following year, working with a vocational school that provides employable skills to OVCs (orphaned and vulnerable children) and the formerly incarcerated, we essentially built an orphanage from the ground up! In addition to dormitories for the boys and girls, latrines, a kitchen with a connected dining room, a washroom, storage room, and an office/sick bay, we have also started two income generating activities in the form of a chicken project and Piggery.
Towards the end of my service we began the process of acquiring licensure from the government, so as to become accepted as one of the state sponcered orphanges here in Lesotho. While we made substantial progress towards meeting the standards required for registration, we have been informed that we are not quite where we needed to be. It was at this time that I was told by Peace Corps that due to a change in donor policy, I was not going to be replaced by a new volunteer at the orphanage. After all that we have done to better the conditions at the orphanage, and in turn improve the quality of life for those that call it home, I couldn’t in good conscience leave without knowing that our goals will be seen to fruition. I therefore have stayed on in a personal capacity to see this through. I, however, can’t do this alone and am calling upon my friends, family, and anyone else interested, to help provide us with the last push needed for legitimacy and self-reliance. The money that we raise from this second campaign will:
· Pay off our outstanding balance for the materials used for the washrooms and storage room ($1,800)
· Pave the orphanage grounds ($2,000)
· Complete our electrical installation ($800)
· Furnish, decorate, and provide storage for our office/sick bay, dormitories, and dining room($1000)
· Rough cast and paint the exterior of our buildings ($300)
· Fund materials needed to make new beds for girls ($600)
· Expand and reinforce our pig stys and chicken coop to ensure longevity and increase our output of both chickens and pork ($500)
I would just like to emphasize that the dollar goes a very long way in these parts so no donation is too small! Just as an example, the most utilized material we need is cement, and a 110 lb bag runs about 8 dollars. For those of you who cannot provide financial support, or have already donated during our last campaign, we humbly ask that you lend your support by sharing this page with friends, family, or groups of individuals who may be interested in contributing to a good cause. On behalf of everyone at the Bethsaida Children's Home, I thank you for your continued support! Rea Leboha!
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