A New Generation ofLeaders in Lesotho

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© Photo by Anna Lusty for Help Lesotho
“I used to be a perpetuator of violence against women”

“My name is Tsita. I live in a little village in rural Lesotho. I was in Help Lesotho’s herd boy training. As herd boys, we spend almost our entire lives looking after animals with no information about issues concerning us. The training has changed our lives—most especially mine.

I used to be a perpetuator of violence against women. It seemed normal to us boys to beat and violate women’s rights because no one took action against it. The issue of gender equity to me and my colleagues was understood as a way of depriving us of our privileges and punishing us.

The training changed my whole thinking. Now we understand that women are human beings with the same rights and worth that we have. Therefore, we as men should stop abusing women and girls. Ladies and gentlemen, gender equity doesn’t imply that men should be inferior but that both men and women should have equal opportunities and power in making decisions about their lives because they both have the same capability.

Now in my village, we have a committee of herd boys who are fighting hard to report cases of abuse. I am making a plea to every man in Lesotho to make it their assignment in their communities. We young men should work together to end violence against girls and women in any form.”

Read Tsita’s full story at helplesotho.org/tsita

Tsita’s story is inspiring—but it is not unique

For nearly 18 years, Help Lesotho has developed and delivered life skills training programs to vulnerable populations in the little-known country of Lesotho (landlocked within the Republic of South Africa). Over 50,000 people have benefitted from Help Lesotho’s intensive programs, many of whom are young men like Tsita who are empowered to make good decisions, respect rights, and be role models for social change.

With over 86 percent of girls and women in Lesotho reporting having experienced gender-based violence, efforts to squarely address such a devastating issue require a multi-faceted approach that engages boys and men as a key part of the solution. Our supporters’ investment in acknowledging boys and men as vulnerable in their own right and as a force for good is paying off.

“We hear from so many families who are proud to be sharing power between men and women now, resulting in fewer child marriages and teen pregnancies,” says Lesotho-based Country Director Mamoletsane Khati.

Help Lesotho, the largest Canadian NGO operating in Lesotho, is supported by a network of committed donors across Canada who value seeing exactly how their dollars translate to on-the-ground impact. Help Lesotho maintains a small Canadian staff of five to support an entirely local staff in Lesotho of nearly 40.

A new generation of leaders like Tsita is emerging in Lesotho—we can’t wait to see what they accomplish.

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Help Lesotho is empowering a critical mass of children and youth with the knowledge and support needed for them to lead a movement that: advocates for social justice, particularly the rights of girls and women in pursuit of gender equity; promotes the prevention of HIV transmission; and champions and challenges all involved to make healthy decisions and be socially responsible.

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