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US funds new child helpline initiative

The Minister of Social Development ’Matebatso Doti and the USA deputy ambassador to Lesotho, Clinton Brown

April 13, 2021 3 min read

3 min read

THE United States deputy ambassador to Lesotho, Clinton Brown says the re-launch of the child helpline initiative in the Ministry of Social Development underscores the U.S.’s commitment to strengthening the ministry’s systems to respond to the various needs of vulnerable children.

The re-launch which was held on Friday in Maseru was coupled with the handing over of a vehicle – a Toyota Hilux 4x4 van to the ministry to ensure that the Child helpline Lesotho project can provide emergency assistance around the clock.

Besides donating the vehicle, PEPFAR through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Partner and Baylor Karabo ea Bophelo (KB), has also pledged to fund the placement of 10 permanent staff members across Lesotho’s 10 districts.

The resources will further KB’s outreach activities to inform and sensitise local communities on child rights issues and promote Child helpline Lesotho’s services.

Speaking at the launch, Mr Brown underlined the U.S. Government’s continued support to the Ministry of Social Development and its commitment to preventing incidents of violence against children in Lesotho.

“The U.S. Government’s contribution to operationalise the Child helpline Lesotho reaffirms our on-going support to protect, empower and invest in the young people of Lesotho,” he said.

He added: “We are proud to further the ministry’s efforts in responding to the challenges in their work to prevent violence against children locally.

“The U.S. Government is committed to continuing its vital partnership with the Basotho people and the Government of Lesotho by offering the necessary support to the ministry to ensure that children are safe, healthy and thriving.”

For her part, the social development minister ’Matebatso Doti said KB assists the ministry to fulfil its responsibility of caring for vulnerable people, including children who are victims of abuse.

She lauded the U.S. Government for the good working relations it has with the ministry, adding with that support, they will be able to fast-track and attend to cases of abundantly abused children within a short space of time.

Established in 2008, Child helpline is an outreach service that provides 24-hour services, emergency assistance and long-term resources to children who have experienced any form of violence and need care.

The U.S. Government through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has also pledged its support through management of the initiative.

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Over the years, PEPFAR, through USAID, has supported orphans and vulnerable children’s programmes and activities to ensure that the most vulnerable segments of the population are safe from harm, stay healthy, attend school, and live in stable family environments.

Unfortunately, as recent data has shown that Lesotho has a high rate of violence against children when compared to neighbouring countries.

With PEPFAR funding, USAID through their support to KB has worked carefully to strengthen the ministry’s systems to respond to the various needs of vulnerable children.

The revival of this vital PEPFAR-funded project is a much needed service that will make a difference to hundreds of Basotho children who suffer abuse at home, school and their communities.


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