Bountiful Hope Foundation thanks the following foundations and/or companies for their support, partnership,
and the work that they are doing to bring about positive change.
American Friends of Semonking
Founded in 2006, Semonkong Children’s Centre (SCC) is located in Semonkong, Lesotho, Africa. this orphanage lost 90% of its funding at the end of 2016 due to the loss of financial assistance from its supporting charities.
The HIV and AIDS epidemic continues to ravage this area and as a result, many of the children have been left as orphans at SCC. The centre provides a home for up to 60 vulnerable children and orphans, ranging form 0-18 years old.
Good Shephard Centre
The Good Shepherd Centre for Teenage Mothers in Lesotho provides young mothers who are battling poverty and illness with a safe and supportive place to live while they learn to care for themselves and their children. All young mothers are admitted regardless of their faith, level of education or social status.
Founded in 2004, Help Lesotho works solely in the AIDS-ravaged country of Lesotho in southern Africa. Help Lesotho’s programs foster hope and motivation in those who are most in need: vulnerable children, girls, youth and grandmothers.
We reach between 15-20,000 direct beneficiaries annually.
Our work targets root causes and community priorities including education, leadership training and psychosocial support. Help Lesotho is an effective, sustainable international development organization working at the grass-roots level to create an AIDS-free generation, end the cycle of poverty and support the future leaders of Lesotho.
Rethabile (Evelyn) Palo
Rethabile Evelyn Palo is a woman whose family did not have the funds to send her to school after the 8th grade. Instead of giving up, at the tender age of 14, Evelyn moved to the capital city of Maseru on her own and started to work as a housemaid. She saved up her money and went to school at night because she knew the value of education. She worked hard and graduated high school. She continued to work in order to enroll in college. Through her determination, she earned her degree and secured a job as a bank teller. The odds of Evelyn actually doing this in a poverty-stricken country are enormous. Her tenacity, intelligence, and social skills impressed us so much that we hired her! Her story provides hope to the BH orphans. Thanks to your involvement, Evelyn is now the Project Manager for Bountiful Hope Foundation in Lesotho and we could not be happier with her performance.
We hope to be able to raise enough funds for Evelyn to travel to the United States to speak about her work in Lesotho. We look forward to introducing her to all of you! If you are interested in sponsoring her trip here to the US please contact Bountiful Hope Foundation.
My name is Rethabile Evelyn Palo. I am a Project Manager at Bountiful Hope Foundation. I am a single Mosotho woman.I am second born in the family of five children. My passion for education started when I was still at primary school. Things were still okay from grade one but when I was in grade 6 things started to change as my father was retrench from the mining in South Africa. It was very hard for my father to find another job. I succeeded to write my grade 7 examination and passed with first class pass that was in 1994. I qualified to be admitted at any school of my choice considering my symbols. Unfortunately that was determined by managing to pay the school fees.
I was admitted at one of the nearby high school, I was still happy to see myself going to school because looking at the situation in the family I could see that it was going to be difficult. I passed form A (Grade 8) very well. I felt like dying when my mother told me that she doesn’t think I would be able to go to school the following year because there was no money to pay for my fees for I still owed the Form A tuition fees. It was very hard for me to accept because I was so eager to see myself going to the University and being graduated.
As I was still at home wishing for any miracle to happen, one of the neighbours came to our house told mom that her sister’s friend is looking for someone to work at their home. I grabbed the opportunity as a way of being away from seeing my friends going to school every morning while I was staying at home. What was more painful was when they come to me after school and ask me to help them with their assignments, telling me that they miss me at school. I must be honest; my heart was bleeding every morning to see my friend going to school leaving me at home. There I was packing my things going to Maseru capital town of Lesotho.
I felt fortunate to work for people who understood my passion for education. They encouraged me to safe money so that the following year I attend the evening classes. The following year in 1997, I found the school in town and I succeeded to do four subjects of grade 10 and did remaining subjects so that I got Junior Certificate. It was not easy to be a housemaid, looking after children and making sure that I cook, clean the house and doing laundry while studying. Because I was looking at my goal, I persevered and passed the examination for the four subjects, the following year I completed the three subjects and passed them. Then I obtained Junior Certificate in 1998. In 1999 my father passed away. He was a loving and caring father, I felt open when I’m with him than with my mother. He was my friend. May his soul rest in peace!
Things turned sour when I was supposed to do Form D (grade 11). My employers were no longer able to pay me, so going to school was no longer possible, there was no payment. I struggled to find the job but all was in vain. After some years, I got a job at the shop; problem was that there was no chance of going to school and with the wages I got was assisting my mother and siblings. That couldn’t last the shop was closed and started struggling again, some days going to bed without food. My mother went to South Africa in 2003 looking for a job and she was doing laundry for people who paid her for the laundry she made. That only helps her to look after my two siblings who are staying with her in South Africa and my disabled nephew. My sister died in 2004 after giving birth and her son is disabled my mother is taking care of him.
I got a job of waitressing at Mediterranee restaurant in 2002. That is where I met my precious American parents, Ntate Bill and ‘Mé Harriet Bierling. The love I got from them was the same love as from my biological parents, I felt at home and save when I was with them, that is still happening even today. That is why I call them my American parents. Things were not good at the restaurant, working condition was not good. Mr and Mrs Bierling helped to find me a job at one of the lodge in Maseru, they knew the manager. After some years working at the lodge, that passion of going to school was still burning inside me. There were two working shifts and I was working the afternoon shift, so in 2007 I started going to the morning classes doing four subjects of Form E (grade 12). Fortunately I passed them and in 2008 continue with the other three subjects and I performed well and obtained the High school certificate. While still paying for my fees I was also paying for my younger sister’s fees and in the other side still helping my mother financially.
In 2009 I was admitted at one of the collage in Maseru, Lerotholi Polytechnic doing Diploma in Business management. Now I was seeing my dream of graduating near. When I looked at my finances I realized that life is going to be difficult if I can stop going to work. I continued to work at the lodge while going to school because my mother and siblings are looking at me to answer for their needs. I passed at the college and graduated in 2011, fortunately got the job at the bank just after graduating, working as a teller from 2011 to 2015.
With that determination of going to school and being educated, in 2015 I applied for Advanced Diploma in Project Management, the program of ICM in UK, enrolled in Lesotho at the Institute of Development Management. I was admitted and the course took one year with the classes starting after working hours. On the same year towards the year end, I got a job at Bountiful Hope Foundation. I was appointed the Project Manager and the person in charge of the Lesotho office. I am so honoured to be part of a team which is working hard with all their determination to give HOPE to most vulnerable children of Lesotho. To give them HOPE that they deserve good and better live just like all other children. BHF understand that their family misfortune does not have to be the barrier to their bright future. Through my work I wish to inspire Basotho children especially vulnerable ones who think that their family misfortune can determine their future or success.
My mother is sick now and has to take care of my disable nephew; it is very hard he is twelve years old now. My younger sister is going to vocational school this year and my youngest sister is doing grade 12, will be in university next year. All of them are looking at me to assist them.
Through my hard work I wish to inspire orphans, vulnerable children, my siblings, relatives and everyone who think being poor means being futureless and not being able to follow their dreams. We do not have to let our misfortune to halt us to work hard for the better future.
Thato Joel Letsoepa
Bountiful Hope Youth Program Officer
Hello I am Thato Joel Letsoepa. I was born in the mountain kingdom of Lesotho, southern part of Africa entirely surrounded by South Africa. I grew up in the village called Leqele. When I was in primary level my dad departed with my mother with the intention of going to seek for a job in South African but he never came back up till death took him. I grew up facing vicissitudes of my live with my grandfather as my mum too fleet to South Africa for her to put bread on the table but it was not easy for her as they were always being chased away for not having work permits and sometimes end up being caught and jailed for that. Since we were young, we did not have means of good communication with her. it was hard for me and my brother because we lived by selling in town as hawkers and with that little amount, we would make then we would buy food and even pay school fees with it. As I was a hardworking student who managed to pass his primary leaving examination with first class, the principal of Leqele high school knew my struggles very well. She is kind of a streaked person and would even severely punish you if you don’t abide by her rules as a student. One day in 2008 (in my grade 9) I was called in to the office and I was shaken in my shoes and at the wink of an eye I was there in the office paralyzed with fear wondering where did things go astray because being called in to the office sometimes would mean you have crossed boundaries. I was so astonished and taken with ecstasy when she told me that I have been granted sponsorship by Bountiful Hope Foundation and that was a day I met with sister Constance who was working in the office that year and became part of this big family of BH. I worked hard and used this golden opportunity I was given very wisely as being selected among many orphans and vulnerable was not an easy task at all for our beloved teachers to do.
At that moment I was able to see little bit of light at the end of the tunnel towards my future and since I had a heart for education then I made sure never to disappoint my principal and everyone around who believed in me and kept my graph constant by always performing well. Graduating in high school was another awful challenge because my result came out not qualifying for admission into tertiary institution and as a result I had to supplement but there was no funding for that and I had to rest for some time and make money for supplementary classes and that was in 2012 and 2013 as I completed in 2011. Every problem has a solution and after supplementing my results reached second class when being evaluated.
Life at tertiary level
I was then admitted in to Lesotho college of Education in the year 2014 and studied education for
elementary level. Being a teacher has always been my dream and Bountiful hope foundation (BH) contributed a lot to that by paying my high school fees. Life was a bit challenging at tertiary level as bursary from manpower couldn’t cover all my needs or maybe it’s because I was helping my family too with the little, I earned. Without any complaint I had to accept that the little thing I have is a gift from God and only thing I have to do is to work hard and pursuit my diploma. In 2016 I completed my studies and passed very well achieving merit (first division) and I was awarded certificate (diploma in education primary) in 2017 and It was a great achievement really to my life and my family members as well.
Life after tertiary level
There is high rate of unemployment in Lesotho mostly when it comes to courses like education, how I wished I knew it before I could do this course but there was no one to mentor me in career path. I then decided to run a small tuck shop in a shark while I was still waiting for the government to hire me. While I was still struggling with a Job then we would be called at some gatherings by BH to come and offer career guidance or life skill lessons and I was always there to take part as it was building me as an individual. The pictures below depict examples of some other day we had a gathering at kick 4 life centre.
I always prayed God to give any kind of job even if it’s not for my qualification and luckily enough I was hired in the office of Bountiful hope foundation in the year 2018 to come and give back and guide the beneficiaries as they are travelling the same path I travelled.
My employment history
As I have already indicated that I have been in the office since 2018, there is no doubt really, I am enjoying my work. It has been a year now and some months been in the office working as education and youth program officer. Working for bountiful hope has not only contributed positively to my financial status but it had also brought social impact or change in me. I developed many skills like excellent analytical and leadership skills. Organising birthday parties and also having interaction with beneficiaries while at retreats and even on my visits at school has made me a good team leader. Getting exposure to how office operates and networking with other organisations like help Lesotho has also taught me how to create and develop healthy professional relationships with other people and colleagues and as an advantage I found this to be a vital important skill that I will use for the entire duration of my career. I also enrolled in a two moths training while still here at work which really had a good impact on me. Change 4ce and LIT program at Help Lesotho enhanced me with communication as a key skill that I attained mostly through presentations and facilitating in community mobilisation which has also made me a brave person who can publicly speak and again added more to my self esteem being high. Below is our picture during the graduation day at help Lesotho and we are all leaders who never give up.
As Bountiful Hope its key goals are to empower vulnerable and orphans, alleviate poverty and the spread of HIV/AIDS in Lesotho, it has also made me a unique person who is now proud and with no fear can talk about HIV/AIDS in many different aspects. Additionally, I have been equipped with many different skills in the office like collecting and keeping data, thorough use and understanding of Microsoft Office Essentials (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint), and currently now contracting modules that may help me teach life skills in future when BH has its own campus or in any gathering we may have with the beneficiaries.
Since my arrival in the office I tried to come up with many ideas that some of them has contributed positively to the lives of beneficiaries and as well as BH alumni. Adding more to that, some success can be noticed on the improved academic performance of beneficiaries at schools and also reduced number of drop outs and also good relationship between alumni, beneficiaries and good collaboration BH is having with other schools.
it’s true there is no clean slate on this earth and in every journey, there will be fluctuations. Some of the challenges faced in the office is having a car that can make school visits very fast and easy as using public transport consumes lot of time that I spent queuing up or taxis spending time with me on the way seeking for passengers. Having a phone in the office can also help for easy means of communication between office and schools and beneficiaries as well. Some students need special attention and I sometimes fail to attend them due to lack of truck, while others are too far and can’t go there with public transport but instead hire a truck as the schools are located in far places with tar roads. I always give beneficiaries an advice that ‘early bird catches big worms’ but some don not respond positively to my saying and end up failing and losing sponsorship at the end of the year which in turn does not make me feel good at all. Some of the schools are not partnering well with the office and as a result they turn not to co-operate with well during my visit to the students while still at schools.
‘hope is that dreams will come true’
Bountiful hope is really changing lives of Basotho’s young generation. There are graduates (teachers, accountants, nurses, engineers, business men and women who succeeded because of it and some through seeds of hope sponsorship. Priests are also to be there in this family. I so wish to see BH not having any student failing, dropping out of school or anything bad happening to them. I do hope that one day the offices will be built up, I mean BH campus and there will be many leaders produced through BH. Bountiful hope has already made it by building up church and now with the praise of God we will have luck to build the offices and that is the moment we will have gatherings easily for mentoring students academically and also through life skill lessons. Again, it has been a problem for some students to select courses they want to do in tertiary level so I do hope BH will no more encounter that with beneficiaries by the carer guidance that I will run and the first one is to be hosted this month. In the long run, I so wish to assist BH achieve its goals by executing all duties assigned to me at all required times with all my heart while I will be building up my skills on the other side of the journey.
Thank you, Prepared by Thato BH officer.