By Ts’oloane Mohlomi
Dr Peg Herbert the founder of Help Lesotho has left a remarkable legacy, in her duration in Lesotho and was recently lauded for the positive impact she made in the country.
At a farewell ceremony held at the organization’s Lesotho compound in Pitseng Leribe, attended by Help Lesotho employees, local community members and international guests alike, the revered philanthropist thanked everyone who had taken part in her passionate tenure in Lesotho, which spanned over twenty years.
Help Lesotho is a non- governmental organization delivering life skills training and mental health support in rural Lesotho, and has also contributed in mitigating the scourge of HIV/AIDS.
The ceremony also marked the opening of a newly constructed library within Help Lesotho premises, which would help local pupils and schools to access much of needed information and books.
She said upon her arrival in the country there was a lack of amenities in the Pitseng area, but she worked hand in hand with local organizations and schools to make the place what it was today, as she felt compassion upon realizing that youth in the area didn’t have any recreational facilities and no one gave an ear to most of their pleas.
“I was touched when I saw that young children, youth and the entire community had no place to go to in order find help or gain information on ways better themselves. There’s no healing for the many valuable lives lost, but we did our best in disseminating information on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. We also worked hard in mitigating the scourge of gender based violence.
“1400 teachers in the Canadian catholic system helped in paying for this land and it was a wonderful example of ecumenical support in mission. When we first built the Help Lesotho centre we couldn’t afford to pay our staff but most of my friends came in to support, they even brought their cows to graze on the land. We come a long way and we have indeed withered the storm, and ever since this centre opened it has now received over 100,000 visits and now comprises of a computer lab also offering various recreational activities,” she said.
Speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Education Sister Alice Mphatsoe, who’s a former student of Dr Herbert in Canada said they thanked her for the remarkable contribution, quoting the famous words of Dr Martin Luther King, “Our lives begin to end the day we remain silent about things that matter”.
“When Dr Herbert came to Lesotho she could not keep quite when she saw the disheartening conditions and saw it necessary to stand up and do something, her contribution in education is enormous as she has reached corners of humanity in young people that the Ministry of Education could not reach, and provided extensive trainings, we are highly indebted to you Dr Peg,” she concluded.
Local teacher Mr Ntlane Lenyeta also praised the outgoing founder for the impact she made in education for the local schools.
Dr Herbert now leaves the organization in the hands of her successor Ms Julia Thompson.