By Nthabiseng Ratalane

Maseru-Unemployed single father of four children seeks assistance. Due to high inflation rate and high unemployment rate in the country most households are struggling to meet their basic needs.The few that are employed are so underpaid that with the little income they have is not enough to cover the basic needs as the CIP(Consumer Price Index) basket has changed.

The struggling father from Ha Thetsane Matamong, Marake Sejake says he would have loved to work and take care of his children. He has been unable to provide for his children since 2020 when he fell ill. Now he stays home and looks after the little ones while depending on their eldest daughter.

“As a father I would have loved provide for my children but being a single father makes it hard. I have been struggling to make ends meets. “I am a father of three children and a grandfather to an 11months old baby. I have a severe cough which results in me struggling to breathe and this has forced me to stay at home while my eldest daughter strived to put food on the table.”

“Having lost the only source of income, life has been unbearable for the little ones and I, I have found myself at a corner having to beg for help from the government and anyone who is willing to assist until I get back on my feet.”

“It’s been Unemployed for three years now. I fully depend on my daughter for survival. I feel like I am a burden to my daughter having to rely on her to support me. I feel like I have taken away her youth. At times I feeling like giving up. But for the sake of my family, I strive to stay alive and strong.” He said.

His 23 years old daughter has a small market where she sells fruits and vegetables. She is currently seeking employment from anyone offering it. The family has so far been surviving on collecting plastic bottles, cardboards and tins to resell them for recycling.

“As the oldest child, it is heartbreaking to see a parent suffering the way my father is. I am always worried when I am not around him. I have witnessed him at his lowest, health-wise and often find myself very helpless and worrisome. I just want to be able to provide for my siblings and ease the financial burden on my father, so that he can concentrate on his recovery. I also want my siblings to obtain the education which I was not privileged to have so that they may not find themselves in a situation my father and I are in now.”  

The covid-19 pandemic and inflation caused by Russia and Ukraine war has exacerbated economic vulnerability for countless families around the country and worldwide, putting their right to adequate standard of living at risk and reducing the life expectancy in the process.  Children have found themselves stranded and hungry with no choice but to engage in child labour and miss out on education. The impact will be long-lasting and for this reason they will always find themselves at a disadvantage as compared to their peers.