Around Maputsoe there are a number of clothing factories which employ sewing machine operators who have certain basic skills. Action Lesotho has now set up a training centre to provide those skills at our Craft Centre in Phukalla. We have invested in 5 domestic and 7 industrial sewing machines, including over-lockers, cover-seam and double-needle machines. We train 25 to 30 young male and female participants for three weeks to a month (4 to 5 per machine), and most of our trainees get employment straight after completing the course. We help them get identity papers and passports, without which they cannot get employment. We also provide training in social skills and literacy. We have built a good relationship with some of the local factories who are very pleased with the quality of our trainees, and are willing to provide us with materials, (needles, thread, cloth, etc.), and help to maintain our machines, and guidance for our trainer. This training facility is a huge hit with the unemployed youth locally, as it gives them a route into employment, and out of poverty.
We are delighted to announce that we have been able to establish a Breakfast Club to provide a meal for orphans and vulnerable children who would otherwise go to school hungry. We have been planning to start this facility for some time, but it has finally become possibly thanks to the generous response to the Chairman’s appeal in December. To date 72 children have registered for the Breakfast Club, which provides porridge, fruit and a drink for each child on their way to school. We hope that this initiative will not only improve the nutrition levels of these children, but also improve their ability to concentrate at school and, therefore, their capacity to learn.
Irish Aid has approved a grant of €208,000 over three years to Action Lesotho in support of our Enterprise Development project for the period 1st July 2015 to 30th June 2018. Over this period, Action Lesotho will
• Encourage and support the development of existing small enterprises in the Leribe District of Lesotho, particularly in the craft industry;
• Encourage new start-ups in tourism, craft and food production;
• Work with the Lesotho government agencies responsible for the development of small enterprises to help them become more effective in job-creation throughout Lesotho.
The Irish Aid funding will enable us to build a Basotho team who will specialise in delivering training in entrepreneurship, innovation, marketing and general business skills, to new and existing small businesses, and to develop the Lesotho Mountain Craft brand to its potential.