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‘Go for it, girl!’



Senate Sekotlo


The majority of Basotho girls leave school with only a vague idea of the employment opportunities that are available to them.

They have no clue as to the kind of career direction they should follow.

Too often there is a mismatch between their scholastic ability, interests, personality and the career they choose.

The result is frustration in the long run.

To help young Basotho girls avoid such challenges, a non-governmental organisation, Smart Ladies Society (SLS), held a career guidance session for Form A and B students at Qhomane Secondary School in Koro-Koro last Saturday.

The idea was to empower and help young girls make the right career choices from a young age, according to the organisers.

The Smart Ladies Society was set up last September by two young businesswomen, NtebohengMohlaba and TholoanaMoeketsi. Its mission is to empower the girl child by helping her make the right career choice.

Mohlaba and Moeketsi said they set up the society after realising that many young girls were dropping out of school for various reasons with those who finish high school often choosing the wrong courses due to lack of guidance.

High school students from Qhomane Secondary School were taught how to conduct self-assessment and select the right course for one’s preferred career.

Girls from the neighbouring ’Matikoeand MasabiellengHigh Schools were also invited to the session.

Mohlaba and Moeketsi said they target girls only for the guidance sessions because girls are often “defenceless and become victims of unhealthy relationships which make them lose self-confidence”.

They also said “it is important to help such girls to set their goals and to make better career options”.

“We are focusing only on girls in secondary schools, specifically Form 1 and 2 because we want to make a better foundation for the betterment of the girls’ dreams,” Mohlaba said.

She said while boys face the same challenges, the problems are more pronounced for girls.

The two said they want to go around Lesotho schools empowering young girls and teaching them how to make “smart decisions”.

Students in Lesotho are normally given informal career guidance after completing Form E when they are preparing to pursue tertiary education.

But Mohlabi and Moeketsi said they decided to introduce career guidance to Form A and B students so that they start working hard early to realise their dreams.

“We have decided to focus on students in Form A and B because we want them to know exactly what they want to be,”Moeketsi said.

She said their goal is to help “improve the educational structure in Lesotho”.

Moeketsi said in most African countries the “public education system is presently inadequate as it does not have a provision for vocational guidance or assessment of individual learners”.

“This weakness results in high unnecessary costs for a country and southern African business, as well as social discontent and hardships,” she said.

She said better career guidance would alleviate most of these problems and cut the unnecessary expenses.

’MamokhethiNthane, a civil engineer,told the girls to dream big and pursue courses in engineering saying the field was no longer the preserve of men.

She said students must develop an interest in Mathematics and Science and study the environment if they want to excel in engineering.

PulaneJonkomane, an audiologist, said there is a dire shortage of audiologists in Lesotho urging the girls to pursue such a career.

“Nothing is impossible as long as you never let where you come from determine your future,” she said.

An audiologist is a licensed hearing healthcare professional who specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss and balance disorders in adults and children.

The Qhomane High School Principal, David Mopeli, said he was grateful to Smart Ladies Society for empowering the girls.

“This will motivate the girls to realise that wisdom has to be above pleasure. A woman has to be dependent onthis everlasting treasure, which is education,” Mopeli said.

NtsoakiShai, a student in Form B, said was never sure of what she wanted to be but was grateful for the insightful comments she received during the seminar.

Shai said she wants to be a journalist when she completes school.

The village chief of Qhomane, Chieftainess’MalebamangMofoka, said it is critical for young girls to decide what they want to be when they are still young, quoting the old Sesotho adage, “thupae otlolloa esale metsi” (straighten the stick while it is still fresh).

She said children must be shown the way when they are still young.

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