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Partner of the Week: Catholic Relief Services Lesotho

Posted in Blogs on May 4, 2021

Catholic Relief Services has been working in Lesotho to provide emergency relief, and to support poor and vulnerable communities in the developing world for 78 years. Seeking to embody Catholic social and moral teaching, they act to promote human development and engage Catholics around the world to live their faith in solidarity with those less privileged. They work with both Catholic and non-Catholic local, national, and international institutions and organisations to assist people based on need, regardless of race, religion or nationality.   

Initially founded as the War Relief Services, aiding refugees from the Second World War in Europe, the organisation changed its name to Catholic Relief Services in 1955 and opened 25 country programmes over the next 10 years in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Since then, they have implemented community-based, sustainable programmes to break the cycle of poverty, addressing needs in areas from health to peace-building, and working to strengthen local partners for local solutions. Its Lesotho branch was founded in 2002, and they now deliver the Aflateen and Aflatoun programmes to vulnerable, hard-to-reach communities.  


Our Partnership 

Aflatoun has been partnering with Catholic Relief Services Lesotho since 2012. Currently, the Karabo ea Bophelo project is implementing the Aflatoun programme to build the capacities of children, in particular their problem-solving abilities, confidence, health knowledge, as well as financial literacy, and skills around entrepreneurship and employability. This project, a 5-year programme funded by USAID running from 2019 to 2024, targets 90,061 orphans and vulnerable children and young women ranging from 10 to 17 years old to prevent new HIV infections and reduce overall vulnerability.  

Read our previous feature on Catholic Relief Services Lesotho from 2017.

Children in the orphanage are always ready for the next class as they have shown great interest in Aflatoun programme. They are ready to bring about changes in their lives and to contribute to the wellbeing of their community in a positive way. — Rachel’s Place Orphanage Caregiver

The KARABO EA BOPHELO Project – ‘Solution to Good Health’  

The Karabo ea Bophelo (which translates as ‘a solution to good health’) supports the Government of Lesotho’s multi-sector strategies and priorities for HIV mitigation and prevention, with an emphasis on addressing social, behavioural, and structural drivers of HIV, and improving access to comprehensive sexual reproductive health services to prevent new infections.   

‘Rachel’s Place’ is an orphanage in the small village of Sekhalabateng in Qachasnek, which houses 28 babies and young children who are survivors of abuse, abandonment, or suffer health issues. The Aflatoun programme is run with 14 girls at ‘Rachel’s Place’, and although living conditions are good, children at the orphanage are generally timid and uncomfortable expressing themselves. After the first three Aflatoun sessions, participating children have shown an increased ability to express themselves and their emotions.   

Caregivers have also emphasised that the girls have wholeheartedly embraced the Aflatoun message, and have seen clear progress in their confidence, determination, and communication skills. Further, as the children lead largely structured lives, they also expressed how the children look forward to each Aflatoun session, and how the programme has brought new energy to their environment.