Creating better lives for tomorrow in Lesotho

Published: 3 December 2014 14:08 CET

By: Mookho Maferaka, Lesotho Red Cross Society

Mookho Maferaka, 24, was provided educational support by the Lesotho Red Cross Society and the Norwegian Red Cross Society. She now works for the Lesotho Red Cross as a water and sanitation project officer in Thaba Tseka district. This is her story:

I first came to learn about the Lesotho Red Cross Society’s Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) programme for educational support in January 2004, when I was about to do my Junior Certificate at St. Catherine’s High School. I had lost my father, who was the only breadwinner in the family in 2002, and lived with my mother, sister, and younger brother. Since my mother was not working, things became really challenging, especially paying for my school fees. When I learned of the Red Cross support, I immediately visited its offices where I met the national OVC officer who told me that to apply I had to go through an assessment, that the chief had to prove that I was legible for support, and provide other supporting documents such as my father’s death certificate. Hearing this, I was in tears thinking that I would miss out and not be able to enrol in school. But he assured me that he would call the divisional office so that the project officer could follow up on my predicament. The process took only one week and I was enrolled.

Since then I have never looked back. That same year, I passed my Junior Certificate with first class, and went on to do my Senior Certificate which I passed with third class. I then applied for a bursary from the government of Lesotho to study for a diploma in Water and Environment Engineering in Maseru, and received some on the job training for six months. From 2012 to September 2014, I worked for Project Management Services as a project officer, and then I got the chance to give back to an organization that had done so much for me.  

In October 2014, I secured the position of Water and Sanitation Project Officer to be based in Thaba Tseka district with the Lesotho Red Cross Society.

Many people ask me why I chose to work on water and sanitation initiatives, as it’s often assumed to be a man’s field. I feel women need to be more involved. In order to address women’s responsibilities in water management, problem analysis, and decision making on water-related issues, women should be involved and their participation should be supported. They are key in fetching, safe guarding and using water in many households in the communities. I feel strongly that women play a leading role in water affairs. 

I am so grateful that I got support from the Red Cross when I needed it most, and that I was able to secure a job with the Lesotho Red Cross Society. This will enable me to give back to vulnerable people in my country. I will also work hard to make sure that I support my family and input to Red Cross programmes as a way of showing my appreciation.