Third hunger relief campaign, (partial) school opening of Pitseng High School and study room for girls' boarding school

 

 

What is the situation in Lesotho in view of the corona pandemic? It is incredibly difficult to be precise about this. One of the reasons is that there are no numbers that document the occurrence of the infection. Only private laboratories offer expensive corona PCR tests; the government's public laboratory stopped all testing a few weeks ago because it would not have access to the necessary test ingredients. Since the beginning of November 2020, it has been possible to have a rapid antibody test for Corona, but this is not financed by the government either and has to be paid for privately.

 

In addition, the documented cases in Southern Africa do not reflect the reality of the pandemic: e.g. According to Corona statistics, 21.201 deaths from / with Corona are reported in South Africa on 26th Nov 2020. Since March 2020 however, almost 50.000 more deaths have been registered than would have been expected (excess mortality). If you subtract the 21.000 deaths that were registered as Covid deaths, you get an additional 29.000 deaths, most of which very likely also due to Covid. The number of infections is correspondingly higher: a study in the Cape region showed that 40% of young pregnant women who were examined in antenatal clinics tested positive for Corona!

 

The true extent of the corona pandemic in Southern Africa is therefore much more serious than reported, and this is particularly true in Lesotho.

 

 

Pupils at the morning assembly with masks, social distance and each with their own hand disinfectant bottle

 

As a result of the pandemic, all schools were closed for a long time. But since 6th Oct 2020, schools have been permitted to reopen for certain grades under special conditions. With the support of Yes we care! e.V. (to purchase several thousand face masks, hundreds of hand disinfectant bottles, several thermal scanners and surface disinfectants with spray bottles) Pitseng High School could meet these requirements, and all tenth and twelfth grades are currently being taught. The school will be closed from 24th Dec 2020 to 3rd Jan 2021, then classes will continue for the two grades. The school is regularly visited by representatives of the Ministry of Education and / or Health, who monitor that all measures are being followed. A great number of formalities need also be completed and sent to the ministries. To date, no student has fallen ill with Covid!

 

 

Girls with masks in front of the renovated study rooms


The boarding facilities connected to the school are also supported by YWC with Corona measures.

 

Boys with masks and disinfectants in front of the Bischof-Manfred-Müller boarding facility 2

 

Mr. Thabiso Paku ensures that all the rules are observed in the two boarding facilities for boys. Since only the boys of the 10th and 12th grades can be present and as a result many of the rooms were free, an additional 10 boys could be temporarily admitted to the boarding facilities, which further reduces the risk of infections as the boys are not going back and forth between their homes and the school.

 

When measuring the temperature and spraying the surface disinfectant in the boys' boarding facilities

 

Despite the corona restrictions, the renovations of the study rooms in the girls' boarding were completed before the girls arrived. This significantly improves their learning situation. In addition, there is the fact that fewer students are present and Sr. Germina tries very hard to support the girls.

 

The girls in the newly renovated study rooms


This gives us hope that our sponsored children will have academic success in March 2021, when the important final exams are due, despite the massive loss of schooling in 2020!

 

All sponsored children of the 8th, 9th and 11th grades have to stay at home until, hopefully in March 2021, lessons can start again for them.

 

 

 

For this reason, a third hunger relief campaign was carried out by our carers at the end of October / beginning of November 2020. It took longer than usual as the sponsored children were asked to write letters and reports to their sponsors during the distribution of food. Photos were also taken of every single sponsored child, this time often with their relatives. What is particularly striking about these photos is the fact that all of our sponsored children have longer hair. During school times, all school children have their heads shaved to prevent the transmission of head lice or fungal infections of the scalp. As soon as all documents have been received by YWC, the photos, letters and reports will be distributed to all sponsors.

 

 

 

We are pleased to report that all sponsored children are doing well and that they gotten through this school-free time in good health.


On this occasion, thanks to donations from sponsors and other donors, pupils in need from the Pontmain Primary School and their relatives also received basic food aid. Photos of this project will follow in the next report.

 

Last but not least, some good news: It's springtime in Lesotho and this year, after years of drought, there is finally some excellent rain! This is wonderful as it allows people to till their fields and hope for a good harvest! Nevertheless, a fourth hunger relief campaign will be carried out at the end of this year to ensure that all sponsored children and their families will not go hungry around Christmas.

 

 

We are infinitely grateful and proud of our carers, Makabelo and Mpho and Thabiso Paku, who work tirelessly and not without risk for their own safety for the children and without whom Yes we care! e.V. would not function as efficiently! We hope and pray that they continue to hold out and stay healthy!

 

We from Yes we care! e.V. would like to thank all sponsors and donors who make the support described above possible and wish everyone good health and a festive season!