Bountiful Hope Education Program
The Bountiful Hope Education Fund supports children, primarily orphans, who cannot pay for secondary or high school tuition and fees. In Lesotho, school tuition is required for all students, beginning at grade 8 (referred to in Lesotho as, "Form A"). This program is the only option for these orphans to continue schooling as many of them either live with grandparents or live alone and, thus, are unable to pay the required fees. When an orphan is accepted into the fund, their tuition is guaranteed until they graduate high school.
For most of these orphans, the chance to continue schooling is the one hope they have to overcome the cycle of poverty and the loss of their parents (mostly due to HIV/AIDS or related illnesses). Being able to go to school with financial and emotional support helps them believe that someone indeed cares for them. For many, this gesture plants a seed of hope that they are not forgotten and helps them feel recognized, supported, and worthwhile.
There are over 150,000 orphans in Lesotho. Since 2005, the Bountiful Hope Foundation has sponsored over 800 orphans. While that number is relatively small, the impact to these young men and women has been substantial.
Tuition and Fees:
Yearly tuition and fees are approximately $350, which also includes a yearly retreat where the orphans come together for support programs.
Being in the southern hemisphere, the academic year runs from January to early December with a winter break in June and July.
Support and Guidance:
Bountiful Hope Foundation has hired a former BH orphan, Francis, to be a social worker who supports the current sponsored youth of the Bountiful Hope Education Fund. His role is to meet regularly with the orphans at the various schools they attend. Currently, Francis is working with 85 orphans in about 20 different schools. Francis encourages, monitors, and advocates for the sponsored youth, as various individual needs arise. Since Francis knows what it takes to successfully make it through school as an orphan in Lesotho, he offers the empathy, wisdom, and experience the orphans need to persevere.
Bountiful Hope Foundation is a registered NGO in the country of Lesotho. All monies and accounts are governed by Bountiful Hope Foundation in the U.S. and in Lesotho. Payments are made from the fund directly to the schools in care of each orphan.
If the Bountiful Hope Vocational Education Centre is constructed, the Bountiful Hope Education Fund takes on even greater meaning and influence. Orphans, as well as other community children, youth, and adults, will be able to access programs, such as counseling to unpack grief and loss issues, leadership and educational empowerment programs, and training in job skills. This additional support can truly make a difference in overcoming the effects of poverty and HIV/AIDS.