The Mophato oa Mants'ase Society
The Annual General Meeting of the Mophato oa Mants’ase Society will be held at Mants’ase Children’s Home, Mohale’s Hoek district, on Sunday 13 November 2016 at 12 o’clock.
Light refreshments will be served.
The Society’s aims are to foster the wellbeing of vulnerable children through their own families wherever possible and where this is not possible to provide residential care for as long as it may be needed.
Society Membership is open to anyone who wishes to foster and further the Society’s aims and who pays an annual subscription of M5,00 (Five Maloti).
Society Members who have paid their annual subscription are eligible to vote at the meeting.
Society Members who wish to pay their annual subscription at the AGM may do so.
The Withiel Spitfire
By: Patrick Malone
From the Withiel Parish Magazine
Strange things happen in Withiel, but one project currently nearing completion in the Parish must rank as one of the oddest – a group of experts are building a full-sized replica Spitfire fighter plane for the people of the Kingdom of Lesotho.
The work is going on in the boatshed in Victoria Square – Withiel Parish stretches along the old A30 to beyond the Newquay-Par rail line – where the Spitfire Heritage Trust is building the plane to mark the 50th anniversary of Lesotho’s independence, and to thank the people of that country for their support during the Second World War.
This takes a bit of explaining, but when war broke out Britain’s defence had been so badly neglected that we sent the begging bowl around the Commonwealth for money to buy Spitfires. The most generous response of all came from the people of Lesotho – then called Basutoland – who despite their abject poverty sent us 24 Spitfires and a Hurricane. They also sent 10,000 men out of a total population of fewer than 400,000 to fight a white man’s war half a world away, and we have never adequately thanked them for their sacrifices.
Even in Lesotho, the facts are not widely known. Former RAF intelligence officer David Spencer Evans, who runs the Spitfire Heritage Trust, raised this issue with His Royal Highness Prince Seeiso Bereng Seeiso, King Letsie III’s brother, at a drinks reception at the Lesotho High Commission in London, and it came as a surprise to the Prince, despite the fact that his grandfather had been the moving force behind Basutoland’s Spitfire Fund.
The people of Lesotho remain desperately poor, and many have never seen an aeroplane close up – they call them sefofane, “a thing that flies that is not a bird”.
David Evans and his colleagues decided to build the replica Spitfire as a centrepiece for Lesotho’s independence anniversary celebrations in October and November, and Withiel was chosen because Paul Ching, whose business premises are at Victoria Square, was a Spitfire buff who has special knowledge of working with composite materials, and has space to spare for the build. The aeroplane will shortly be put on a freighter for Durban, its passage paid for by Diamond Gem, a mining company with interests in Lesotho.
In recognition of their gift, one of the two RAF Squadrons equipped with the donated Spitfires was named 72 Basuto Squadron, and coincidentally Withiel resident Group Captain Simon Coy later became Commanding Officer of ‘A’ Flight, 72 Squadron, when it was flying Wessex helicopters in the late 1960s – and even he did not know the full background.
The replica is correct in every detail, with moulds having been taken from a privately-owned Spitfire. It’s been quite expensive, and the small team at the Spitfire Heritage Trust have taken on their own debt load to fund it. Curiously, they’re marketing an expensive drink, Spitfire Heritage Gin, as part of their fund-raising efforts. Worth trying, even at £45 a bottle!
There’s much more to it than this, of course – David Evans and his team have tied the project up with education and training initiatives to help the people of Lesotho, and the project also aims to impress upon people at home that international aid is not a one-way street. For most Britons, Lesotho is as remote today as it was in 1940, and its people never cross our minds. But they were there for us when we needed them most, and they gave generously out of all proportion to their resources.
Near the top of the list of the most difficult things for a small charity to get funded is a vehicle. Yet ten years ago, in 2006 we were very fortunate to receive funding for a bakkie (a light delivery vehicle) and it has been a Godsend!
Ten years and more than 220,000 km later our bakkie is still working hard for the children of Mants’ase and for our Community Assistance Programme (CAP). We depend on it for shopping, taking children to the clinic or for hospital appointments, getting our Management staff to meetings in Mohale’s Hoek and Maseru, and for so many more reasons.
We would like to take this opportunity to pause, to say thank you again for this very valuable donation made ten years ago, to thank all who have contributed over the years to the cost of maintenance and fuel, to those who have supervised the maintenance, and to thank the drivers. Thank you all so very much!
We know we are going to have to replace our bakkie one day, we also know that this Nissan Hardbody is going to be a tough act to follow. Good little bakkie!
Above: Judith and Axel Milberg
The three new buildings at Mants’ase Children’s Home, which will be officially opened on the 7th April have been built to last. Each of the buildings has been constructed to very high building standards and we believe they will be of great benefit to our children for many years to come.
Thank you so much to all those who contributed to their construction!
Thank you to Axel and Judith Milberg and the Umckaloabo Stiftung for the pivotal role they played in securing the necessary funding, and to RTL vir helfen kindern for generously sponsoring the cost of these new buildings.
Thank you to DNT Architects, Twentieth Construction and EFS Construction, and our heartfelt thanks to our Chairman, Mr Herman Nieuwoudt and our General Manager, Ms Fifi Mphako for overcoming what appeared to be impossible hurdles during the construction phase.
And thank you so much to all the staff and children at Mants’ase Children’s Home, you coped brilliantly with the unavoidable upheavals and inconveniences throughout the demolition and construction phases. We pray and trust that you will enjoy the benefits of these beautiful new buildings for many, many years.
The first building was designed with our children’s education needs in mind:
There is a multi-purpose room to be used by the preschool in the mornings (when the primary school children are at school) and in the afternoons and evenings the primary school children will have this ideal space for doing their homework.
There is a multi-purpose room for the secondary and high school children, an ideal space for them to do their homework, away from the little ones practicing their reading out loud!
And there is a library for everyone to use, as well as new office accommodation for our Assistant Manager.
While meeting our children’s education needs will always be our primary focus when using this building, we will also be using it for extramural activities, skills training for our children and staff, counselling and play therapy, meetings and recreation - particularly on cold and rainy days. Winter days are going to feel so much warmer with the protection of large windows to keep out the cold wind while allowing the maximum amount of sunshine in.
We also plan to use this building at times to host workshops focusing particularly on health and safety education, and to which we can also invite our neighbouring communities.
The second building houses:
Two new dormitories, each with their own bathroom. These dormitories were built for the older teenage children, aged between 16 and 18 years, one dormitory for the boys and one for the girls. These new dormitories have allowed proper housing of all the teenagers according to their developmental stage and have also enabled us to care for more children at Mants’ase Children’s Home.
Two flats (apartments) for the accommodation of the General Manager and Assistant Manager.
The third building houses the General Manager’s Office, a laundry room and a well-equipped food store room.
We are enormously grateful for the funding provided to Mants’ase Children’s Home by RTL vir helfen kindern and gladly display their logo near the entrance to the library.
And again, thank you so much to all who played their part.
Thank you for our new buildings, we really appreciate!
For some time we have been experiencing regular shortages of water for domestic use at Mants’ase Children’s Home, a situation that was exacerbated by the recent severe drought.
Largely due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic there has been a rapid increase in the number of orphans and vulnerable children accommodated at the Home. In 2001 the Home could accommodate 20 children, by 2010 the Home could accommodate 50 children and today we can accommodate up to 60 children.
However as more dormitories and bathrooms were built and more children admitted, we were still relying on the same water supply infrastructure that was built fourteen or more years ago. This infrastructure, although still in good working order, was not designed to supply enough water for our present needs. It consists of a borehole (well) from where water is pumped into a reservoir using an electric pump which is powered by solar energy.
This pump therefore only pumps water into the reservoir during the day, and although Lesotho enjoys many sunny days (and Lesotho winters are relatively short) it was well known that a cloudy day during winter spelled ‘no water’, as the water in the reservoir would be completely depleted.
For most of the year, except during the worst of winter, the vegetable garden compounded the problem. The more vegetables we grew, the more water we drained from the reservoir and at the height of summer when the vegetable garden needs more watering, a beautiful, thriving vegetable garden meant less water for domestic use inside.
Thanks to the very generous donation of a new, additional borehole and roundabout pump system, which includes a 2,500 litre storage tank and stank stand, the problem of regular water shortages has now been addressed.
The new borehole is situated in the peach orchard*, next to the vegetable garden, and it should supply more than enough water for the vegetables and fruit trees. We encourage child participation in growing vegetables and spinning on the roundabout will be a fun new way for the little ones to help water the veggies!
And during the worst of winter, when the fruit trees are dormant and there is no need to water the vegetable garden (and because the water from the new borehole is also safe for human consumption) we now have the means to store a reserve supply of water for domestic use.
This donation was a complete package. All the expenses incurred in installing the new roundabout pump system were paid for by the donor for which we are very grateful.
We were also impressed by the care taken to understand our particular water supply problem and the care demonstrated in designing an appropriate, tailored solution.
Before installing the roundabout pump, the borehole was tested. Chemical and bacteriological tests were done, and a step down test was carried out to establish the rate at which water can be drawn from the borehole. The test results were sent to a Geo-hydrologist who certified that the water is fit for human consumption and also provided pump set recommendations to ensure a sustainable flow of water and ease of use of the equipment.
Ongoing maintenance of the system will be performed by a trained, locally sourced maintenance crew and any spare parts that may be needed will also be provided free of charge. Thank you so much!
We would also like to thank the donor’s agents, P&R Pumps in Bloemfontein, who managed this project efficiently and professionally from start to finish. Thank you so much!
We are delighted that the new borehole and roundabout pump should supply all the extra water we need. And we just love that our children have a terrific merry-go-round to play on!
* The peach orchard was donated to Mants’ase Children’s Home in June last year by the Ministry of Forestry and UN Cares. They planted 44 peach trees, which included different varieties of peaches, but unfortunately during the drought we were not able to water the trees and a number of them died. However, the trees that survived the drought appear to be well established now and we look forward to picking peaches later in the year.
Thank you very much to our New Zealand based friends Trilogy for their donation to the Mophato oa Mant’sase Society!
This organic skincare company recently visited Lesotho for business purposes and visited Mants’ase informally. After traveling back to New Zealand they surprised us with a very generous donation.
Even more importantly, they indicated that the donation is unrestricted!
Most of the funding we receive is restricted to those costs and expenses the sponsor is willing to cater for. Because these decisions are often made many months before this money is spent, we frequently find ourselves in a situation where the funds we have cannot be used to cover all costs, or certain necessities are then neglected.
While restricted funding will continue to be a very important and major source of funding for the Home, relying too heavily on restricted funding leaves us financially vulnerable, particularly when situations and/or expenses arise that could not have been planned for.
Unrestricted funds are essential for our sustainability and we are very grateful to Trilogy for demonstrating their trust in our ability to use their donation wisely by contributing generously to our unrestricted funds.
Our most sincere gratitude!
In loving memory of
‘Me ‘Makoena Grace Namakau Moshoeshoe
1954 - 2015
I first met Grace in Mohale’s Hoek in 1981 and I soon knew that Grace didn’t often hide her feelings. When Grace was cross with me, she told me so! She was also quick to share joy and to laugh with me. We laughed together a lot and that is how I will always remember her.
Grace served as Chairlady of our Board of Trustees from 2008 to January 2014. Being Chairlady involved a lot more than chairing meetings. Grace would visit the children over weekends and sometimes on a Sunday morning she would drive out to Qhalasi to go to church with them.
Grace knew each child and was always concerned about their health and wellbeing. If one of the children was ill, Grace knew about it and she made sure that that child received the necessary medical treatment.
Grace was born on the 28th July 1954 in Livingstone, Zambia. After completing her secondary education at Choma Secondary School she proceeded to the University Teaching Hospital School of Nursing where she qualified as a Registered Nurse and Midwife. It was while she was studying that Grace met the late Dr David Leboto Moshoeshoe and they later married on the 14th December 1978. After they were married they settled in Maseru where they completed their medical services at government hospitals, then relocated permanently to Mohale’s Hoek to begin their private practice.
Grace continued her education while in Lesotho and qualified as a Nurse Clinician. She was also a fervent Theology student and was in the process of completing her studies.
Affectionately known as Mimi to those close to her, Grace contributed to the Mohale’s Hoek community in many ways and in her later years served at St Stephen’s Anglican Church as a Lay Minister.
Grace died in her sleep on the 20th September 2015 and leaves behind her children Koena, Koenane David (DJ), the twins Mary-Anne and Elizabeth, and her granddaughter Lehakoe. To you all, our sincere condolences and thank you so much for asking our children to take part in Grace’s funeral service.
Our children chose Psalm 121:
"I look to the mountains; where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth."
‘Me ‘Makoena will be remembered with much love at Mants’ase Children’s Home.
Robala ka Khotso Grace.
On the 12th September the tombstones for Nthabeleng Kibe and Tebello Machona and the memorial in memory of all four children who so tragically drowned last year, were unveiled.
The service and ceremony also marked the end of our official year of mourning.
We celebrated the lives of Nthabeleng, Mpho, Tebello and Reitumetse in the certain knowledge that they are with God and that we will never forget them. Then we opened a new chapter in our lives, and in the the life of Mants’ase Children’s Home.
Thank you so much to Msizi Africa for your generous funding which covered all the day’s expenses, including the cost of the tombstones and memorial. We appreciate this very much!
To all those who came and who helped and supported us at the unveiling, thank you, and thank you so much to those who have supported us in so many ways since the day of the tragedy. God bless you!
We are humbled. We are truly grateful. And we look forward to the future.
AGM 2015 General Manager’s Report
By: Fifi Mphako 16th August 2015
The Mophato oa Mants’ase Society is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation.
The aims of the Society are to foster the wellbeing of vulnerable children through their own families wherever possible, and where this is not possible to provide residential care for as long as it may be needed.
As at the 31st July 2015:
- The Society is assisting 15 families who are supporting 32 children.
- 42 children are accommodated at Mants’ase Children’s Home, 23 boys and 19 girls. 21 are double orphans, 8 are single orphans and 13 are vulnerable for other reasons. 7 of the children are HIV Positive and 2 have special needs.
- The Society employs 13 full-time staff and is assisted by a part-time social worker who provides counselling for all the children residing at Mants’ase Children’s Home.
Mants’ase Children’s Home
Although our hearts were broken by the September 13th tragedy, Mants’ase Children’s Home has been blessed in its accomplishments between January 2014 and July 2015.
We strive to meet all our children’s needs; food and nutrition, shelter and care, protection, health care, education and skills training, and to provide psychosocial support to all children residing at the Home, and we are very grateful for the continued support that we have received.
In consultation with a nutritionist the Home menu was revised. We now have a cost effective and rotating monthly menu and there has been a great improvement in the children’s BMI.
Eight children were reunited with their families and three more will be reunited with their families in December when schools close.
Old buildings that were derelict were demolished, new buildings constructed, some of the existing rooms were renovated, and general maintenance work was done.
The school going children achieved a 100% pass rate at the end of the 2014 school year.
And we enjoyed several events, including hosting visits from Prince Seeiso, Prince Harry and the Sentebale team, a wonderful Christmas party sponsored and hosted by our corporate sponsors, and a holiday weekend at Malealea.
The Mants’ase Community Assistance Programme (CAP) was launched in March 2014 and is providing assistance to 15 families who are supporting 32 children. These children achieved a 100% pass rate at the end of the 2014 school year and also did well in recent mid-term examinations.
Little Babes Montessori School provides preschool education for 20 children from the village, most of whom live with their grandparents as their parents have left home to look for jobs.
Community activities were also hosted at Mants’ase, including a nutrition and hygiene workshop that was attended by ladies from the community.
The Mophato oa Mants’ase Society is committed to building and strengthening partnerships with the Government, NGO’s, donors and the public sector to ensure responses that are in the best interests of the child and meet the children’s basic needs.
The Mophao oa Mants’ase Society wishes to thank all those who continue to provide support for our vulnerable and very beautiful children, and for our work in the community. For the financial support we have received, and for the many services and gifts donated in kind, we are very grateful. To all those who have assisted us in caring for our children, thank you so much!
Below are some of the benefactors who have provided support:
The Umckaloabo Stiftung
RTL – vir helfen kindern
The Rosehip Company
The Jandrell Group
The Anglican Church
The Anglican Mother’s Union
Econet and the Higher Life Foundation
Lesotho Flour Mills
AGM 2015 Chairman’s Report
by: Mr Herman Nieuwoudt 16th August 2015
Since our last AGM, the Children’s Home has experienced some of the biggest highlights in the history of the Home but unfortunately also some of the worst.
On September 13th 2014 our lives were irrevocably changed with the accidental drowning of four of our children.
As Chairman I felt the weight of this incident heavy on my shoulders. How does anyone deal with something like this? However over the following days the very best of human nature surfaced.
I will never forget the community members who stayed through the Saturday night at the dam, the huge presence of people on the Sunday and all the subsequent support. It is easy to highlight a visit from our Patron Her Majesty the Queen but I value our neighbours who came to wash the clothing as much.
All the children have received trauma counselling and Fifi will highlight our efforts to prevent a similar incident.
I believe the Home has come out of this tragedy stronger, with a bond that cannot be broken. On September 12th we will be unveiling the tombstones and I am formally inviting everyone to this function.
However the Home has also been very blessed this year. Everyone will notice our new buildings. We were able to meet our immediate needs and when those where met we were able to extend a helping hand to our immediate community outside of the Home.
Our community assistance program is funded by the Umckaloabo Foundation. Not only are we able to connect in this way with our neighbours but we are also teaching the children at the Home not to be victims but also how to be a donor yourself.
I want to make a special comment about EFS Construction for their excellent work done on the repairs of the existing buildings. They did this work within time and at cost. They even repaired some work done incorrectly by other contractors.
Due to the attention given to education our children achieved a 100% pass rate at the end of last year.
We were able to reunite children with their families and take in some that were destitute.
Some of our children were able to graduate and leave Mants’ase.
To date our biggest remaining challenge is the successful exit of the young adults from the Home.
Financially Mants’ase is doing well, however we are working hard at securing appropriate funding going into the New Year.
The Board has taken the view that we should be careful of getting involved in projects to generate funds, which could lead us away from our core function of caring for vulnerable and orphaned children. Instead we have focused on securing funding for this very core task and it is my opinion that we have been successful in this strategy.
Restricted funding has always been a problem but we have been able to make great strides in this regard. Unrestricted funding is only possible if there is great trust from the side of the donor that the funds will be appropriately managed and accounted for. Building this trust takes a huge effort. To this end I want to thank all involved with the reporting and their honest actions.
I am happy to report that our local donors have really increased their support. We are always very grateful for our overseas donors but we also believe in taking care of our own and various local companies have come on board.
I am happy to commend our staff and the managers for the good work done. Fifi, well done. We have also welcomed Ntate Bokang Lipholo who has acted as Assistant Manager since March. Ntate Bokang is providing not only increased educational support but also a loving father figure to the children.
I especially want to commend our Housemothers. You are often not thanked enough but you are the very core of Mants’ase and the reason our children are well cared for.
I want to thank the Board members of Mants’ase for their selfless labour. I want to single out Ms Elaine Herbert who is doing a huge job.
A bit later there will be an opportunity for us to vote a new Board and I want to warn the nominees that this decision should not be taken lightly and caries a heavy duty to the children. It will cost you your time and even your money.
But .. This is your opportunity to make a difference in the life of a child.
I want to keep my report short as Mme Fifi has a much more detailed report.
Khotso, Pula, Nala