children in need
Photos from the Sentebale website: Suzanne Porter, Geoffrey Matthews, P.A. photographers.
|The children of Lesotho are only a few of the children in the world who need help. Their country is impoverished and overwhelmed with sickness and hunger. The UNICEF recently projected that as many as 200,000 of Lesotho's 500,000 school aged children are orphans, having lost both of their parents to AIDS and this colossal number is continuing to increase every day. |
Lesotho is already ranked as 3rd in the world for the country with the least number of children in school, but continues to see more and more children dropping out of class. Many children, girls in particular, have been compelled to quit school to care for younger children or other family members because of the death of their parents.
There is no national welfare system with sufficient money to care for and protect these children and as the number of orphans and vulnerable children continue to increase the resources that care for them are being stretched thin. Left to survive on their own, Lesotho's orphans are forced to take upon perilous forms of labor like herding, domestic work, or commercial sex.
Herd Boys are a distinctive feature of Lesotho's society, which encompasses 1/3rd of Lesotho's school aged boys, some as young as six, and young men who work full time tending to the livestock in the remote highlands of the country. They leave their families for months at a time to live in very primitive conditions enduring extreme weather conditions with no amenities. Their payment for a year's work is one cow or several smaller animals as well as milk throughout the year. The boys endure hardships and go to incredible lengths to provide what little they can to save their families. With no education it becomes nearly impossible for these boys to achieve an income level above the poverty line. Many of these isolated children who are living in a country where aids is third worst in the world have never even heard about this horrible disease. There is much that we can do to help Lesotho's children.