Mamohlakola Letuka and Bereng Mpaki
STANDARD Bank Lesotho (SLB) this week donated M200 000 to St Cecilia Orphanage for AIDS Orphans and Abandoned Children towards the centre’s operations.
The orphanage which is located in Ha Buasono, Berea district was established in 2009 to cater for the increasing number of orphans due to the high prevalence of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
It currently houses 60 children aged from one to 18 years, some of them who were taken in as newborns after being abandoned by their parents. The centre also enrolls the children in schools and equips them with vocational and life skills.
Speaking at the handover ceremony on Tuesday, SLB Chief Executive Officer Mpho Vumbukani said the bank was passionate about the welfare and education of orphans and vulnerable children who they viewed as their own.
“We are particularly keen on orphanages such as St Cecilia because we believe that no matter the circumstances, all children deserve love, guidance and security,” Mr Vumbukani said.
He further indicated they were pleased with the manner in which the centre is run under the guidance of Father Pule Augustinus Mahlaku.
“I was impressed to learn that the environment of St Cecilia is so homely and filled with parental love and compassion that every child deserves.”
Part of the funds were raised through a Corporate Golf Day which SLB recently hosted where participating organisations bought raffle tickets and pledged further donations. SLB matched the M100 000 which was raised at the event to bring the total donation to M200 000.
Companies that participated in the fundraising initiative included Alliance Insurance, AON, Insurance Brokers, Glassworld, Insucare, Lesotho Flour Mills, Letseng Diamonds, Letsego Financial Services, Liberty Lesotho, Lesotho Revenue Authority, Maseru Toyota, Metropolitan Lesotho, Matekane Group of Companies, Premier Foods, Sigma Construction, Specialised Insurance Brokers and Vodacom Lesotho.
Mr Vumbukani said he hoped the funds would be used to drill a borehole to ensure a dependable water supply.
The donation is part of the bank’s annual social responsibility commitment, which is set to top M3 million this financial year.
For his part, the founder of the orphanage Fr Mahlaku said the donation would go a long way in helping them in their challenging task of raising the children.
“This is a massive aid to us and may God bless you to have plenty more. This is not for my own benefit but for God’s sake and the country at large,” he said.
He said raising school fees, food, medical expenses, clothing, bedding and accommodation for the children was a challenging task which needed the support of volunteers like SLB.