There’s a video circulating that seems to address the idea of privilege, but is that what’s really going on? Privilege and disadvantage are two very different things. Removing disadvantage doesn’t automatically make someone privileged.
Vodacom Lesotho sponsored students at Sepheo School to participate in the 2017 Malealea Monster adventure race, giving them an opportunity to learn endurance and experience success. Vodacom's contribution shows that it's possible to bring Excellence out of Poverty.
Through the Direct Aid Program, the Australian High Commission in South Africa partnered with Sepheo to add 35 more places at Sepheo School, giving vulnerable children the chance to catch up on years of missed education.
Someone called my name in the middle of town and ran to catch up with me. It was one of our recent graduates from Sepheo School. In the moment, I was taken back to a time 3 years ago when this same boy was begging from us in the very same location. Now things look very different for him. This time around, he was offering me money. Read his story here.
Murder, rape, neglect and cries for help. Extreme tragedies all within a week. We are finding more and more desperation and signs of broken communities. We're not discouraged. What we do works. We are more motivated than ever to bring excellence out of poverty to more people.
Before coming to our school our students used to give up on everything. So many people had given up on them and they had never seen anyone succeed. So what happened when we took our senior class to compete in a racing event in Lesotho's mountains? They came away with new resolve that they would not give up; they're not tapping out anymore.
Many want to raise their children well, but feel overwhelmed and don't know where to start. The daily goal is survival, and under that stress the nurturing of children can take a back seat. Our intense mentoring program for caregivers provides them with personal support and encouragement and to teach them positive parenting techniques to improve the care of their children.
This month we kick off a new program to help Lesotho's girls! The girls and young women will be mentored and linked with other services and opportunities, and will receive a basic qualification to improve the standard of their employment and pay. And they will be loved.
We know every child on the street in Maseru. We also know those who were once kids - now young adults - still living on the streets. We love these ones, too, and they love us.
Over time, we have seen their numbers dwindle, but a solid cadre remains, too lethargic and weary from a life on the street. It is hard to watch some young men progress and some refuse to budge. Every one of them hates the street. Most have hated it enough to let us help.
On my last visit to the largest hangout, we lifted weights together and as I was leaving I told them that I don't want to go to their funerals. They should be coming to mine. The simple truth is that being on the streets ends in prison or death.
As an officer in the army, we always had a catch phrase in the front of our minds when making decisions: “choose the hard right over the easy wrong.”
I now find that simple anecdote as poignant as ever as we maintain the direction of a charity that works with extreme poverty, child homelessness, delinquency and neglect. There’s an easy wrong that removes the surface of the problem from our view. There’s an easy wrong that is better at producing heartwarming stories than actually making a difference. There is an easy wrong that generates massive donations. We won’t do any of it. The easy wrong is still wrong.
Before I left Australia in 2013, I sat in the office of my now-former boss discussing the plans for Sepheo and establishing a culture of excellence out of poverty. I outlined how we wanted to centre our model on a Character and Leadership program, as success is fleeting without the right character. She nodded and matter-of-factly said, ‘you need to add resilience.’
This week I met the mother of one of my boys for the first time. I travelled to the factory where she works, just next to the South African border, to meet her on her lunch break. It was a beautiful moment for me. She greeted me with the hugest smile...