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A miracle in Ha-Ramabanta



HA-RAMABANTA – WHEN Retšelisitsoe Koloti’s father died in 1996, she was devastated.

While her wounds were still fresh, her mother, who had proved to be a pillar of strength for the family, also died 12 years later.

When her mother died, Koloti and her seven siblings were left in a dilapidated house, built with black and basalt rocks in Ha-Ramabanta.

While other children were going to school, Koloti assumed weightier “parental” responsibility of looking after her siblings.

The past eight years have been particularly tough for Koloti and her siblings.

Her village of Ha-Matšaba, which is on the foothills of Maloti Mountains between Roma and Semonkong, in Ha-Ramabanta is the epitome of poverty.

The village is home to a swarm of unemployed youths who are often seen either basking in the sun or wandering about aimlessly in the dusty cattle paths.

Some find solace in frequenting local home-brewed sorghum beer houses where they hope to drown their sorrows.

It is in this village that Koloti ekes a living.

“I started helping people in the village with their laundry or getting them firewood, this is how we have survived,” Koloti says.

She together with other villagers who have fields but do not have cattle to plough have joined hands to plough the fields and share the harvest “so that at least we can have porridge on the table”.

But because there was no rain last season, she says they are not sure “there will be anything to harvest this year”.

Koloti and her siblings still live in a rickety single room made of basalt stone.

“When it rains it became a problem to sleep inside as it would be filled with water, during cold nights the door and windows allowed the cold air in,”Koloti says.

Koloti says she however recently received some unexpected visitors who promised to build her a decent house. The visitors were from Habitat for Humanity.

She says she did not believe that mere strangers would be moved with pity to act on her behalf.
But three weeks ago Habitat for Humanity Lesotho and Standard Lesotho Bank, with a team of builders equipped with construction tools, came and to her delight they started building her house.

“We did not think that they would deliver because what they were promising was too big,” she says.

On Tuesday the two organisations handed over a two roomed house and a toilet to Koloti’s family.

In some rural villages, having a toilet is still considered a big thing because the majority still use the “bush system” to relieve themselves.

“This is a miracle indeed. How can a stranger be able to deliver such when even those close to us have failed,” she says.

“We felt abandoned for a long time but today we are happy to realise that there is someone out there who cares, we don’t feel neglected anymore and all we can say is thank you to Habitat and Standard Lesotho Bank.”

’Makeabetsoe Mabaleha, Head of Marketing at Standard Lesotho Bank, says the bank feels obligated to give back to Basotho who have given them unwavering support over the years.

She said the bank has engaged in several activitiesto provide shelter through its partnership with Habitat Lesotho.

“Because we know nothing about building and vulnerability, we tasked Habitat to identify those who needed help and we brought money,”Mabaleha says.

“We are grateful that we could help. This house was no longer safe to those living in it,” she says, adding that“everyone needs a house that can make them secure”.

’Mathabo Makuta, Director of Habitat Lesotho, says it is every Mosotho’s responsibility to see that every child is raised with love, care and safety.

“There are a lot of orphans, the disabled and the elderly who need help and as Habitat the least we can do is provide shelter with the help of our funders and partners,” Makota says.

’Mantsenki Maphalane of the Ministry of Social Development says the government is grateful for the assistance they get from organisations such as Standard Bank and Habitat Lesotho.

“It is the government’s duty to ensure that orphans, the elderly and the disabled are well cared for, but because there are too many the government falls short,” Maphalane says.

“Therefore, we are grateful when organisations take it upon themselves to help the vulnerable.”

Standard Lesotho Bank donatedM60 000 for the building materials and the bank’s staff also volunteered to physically help build the house.

Lemohang Rakotsoane

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