Thursday, December 20, 2012

Happy Holidays from the Safe-home Gang!

Over the past year, Touching Tiny Lives has received endless support from people around the world. This support has come in many forms from volunteers and doctors lending their skills and expertise here in Mokhotlong to generous monetary donations that allow us to provide families with food packages and pay our dedicated staff of Basotho.

We wanted to share a little bit about the kids currently staying in the safe-home to show you just what a difference your support means to all of us at TTL.
Reitumetse has now been at the safe-home for about three months. This little girl is so full of giggles and spunk and has us all laughing constantly. She is also extremely smart and always willing to sit down with a book or puzzle. While at TTL, she has recovered remarkably from severe malnutrition, learned to walk, and started a successful regiment of ARVs. We're excited to see what the coming months hold for Reitumetse's continued recovery.

Tsepo is almost three years old. As a result of his malnutrition, he is small for his age but he eagerly works to catch up on his developmental milestones. He has some very funny and sweet mannerisms -he reminds us all of a bit of an old man in a little boy's body.

Nthabeleng was just three days old when she arrived at the TTL safe-home. Sadly, her mother passed away shortly after giving birth to her. The Outreach team brought Nthabeleng to the safe-home to ensure that she remains strong and healthy in her first few months of life. The Outreach team is now working with her family to find a safe, healthy home for her.

Just two days after Nthabeleng, five day old Rapelang joined the safe-home family. Suddenly, we found ourselves with two babies less than a week old! Since all of the bo'me love to snuggle with these little ones, this was no problem at all. Rapelang also lost his mother shortly after birth. The Outreach team is currently working with his family to ensure that his return home is successful. He is now about one month old and doing very well.

Thabo just arrived at the safe-home yesterday. Born in South Africa, Thabo and his mother returned to Lesotho a few days ago. We're still getting to know Thabo's personality, but can already tell this little man will be a much-loved part of the safe-home family.

Prior to coming to the safe-home, Batloung spent several weeks at the Mokhotlong Government Hospital. He was suffering from some severe complications of kwashiorkor, a form of malnutrition that results form a lack of protein in the diet. In the time his little guy has been with us, we've seen much improvement. He's mastered crawling and is well on his way walking.

Happy Holidays from everyone at TTL!

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Food Crisis

Over the past few days, a more-than-welcome rain has fallen over the highlands of Lesotho.

The proceeding weeks have seen too many Basotho looking pleadingly toward the sky praying for the rain their crops so desperately need.

With the rain, relief washed over the people of Lesotho.

And while a few days of rain does not guarantee a fruitful yield, this long-awaited weather pattern has provided a hope that this year's harvest will bring relief to the hundreds of thousand of people experiencing extreme food shortages.

The families of rural Lesotho rely primarily on subsistence farming and the past few years of poor harvests have wrought devastation on the people of Lesotho.

The severity of this devastation - nearly 725,000 people facing famine - caused the Prime Minister to declare a food emergency in August of this year.

We see the effects of this food crisis first-hand in the families we serve.

The number and severity of malnourished children being admitted to the safe-home has increased dramatically, seeming to overtake HIV/AIDS as the primary reason for admittance.

In previous years, Outreach would provide a large bag of maize meal to, maybe, two struggling families a month.

Now, we consistently provide this staple to over fifteen families a month.

Lesotho has put out a mass appeal to the international community for assistance in this emergency.

This appeal has gone largely unanswered, leaving many in Lesotho with no food and no where to turn.

At Touching Tiny Lives, we're continually looking for new ways to address the increasing food insecurity.

But we can play just a small part in addressing the myriad issues that have contributed to this crisis.

However, we will endeavor to combine the passion of our staff, the strength of the children we serve, and the limited resources of the country of Lesotho to provide high-impact care, one child at a time.

A few interesting articles...

The Guardian 
Lesotho: hungry and largely forgotten as donor pledges ring hollow

Alert Net
Lesotho's food crisis: a waiting game

Monday, December 3, 2012

Thank You, Baltimore!

Dear friends, neighbors and family, 

On Thursday, we joined for a few hours in Baltimore for a cause -- to support the work Touching Tiny Lives does on the ground in Lesotho every day. And we did that.

Combined with the online donations of those who couldn't make it out to Portside Tavern, we raised more than $6,000. This money will go directly to programming on the ground in Mokhotlong -- providing food and medicine to poor children in remote villages; staffing the TTL safe-home where the most ill are transformed from malnourished to gregarious youngsters; and funding the mountainous trips TTL makes to consult with remote clinics and check in on pregnant mothers.

This is the immediate impact of your support. It is one that resonates within a larger goal and broader vision.

Today is World AIDS Day, a reminder that the power of the global community to combat HIV/AIDS together is a source of hope for many.

But globally, there remain isolated pockets underserved by this mantra of hope. The mountains of Lesotho, where 1 in 4 are infected, is one of them. 

TTL is filling a void where few other organizations have a foothold as extensive as ours. And we are currently working to expand our mission by creating a new, second base of operations in the Thaba Tseka district, which neighbors Mokhotlong and is equally remote.

You are helping us do this.

A fundraiser, in many ways, is a test of the compassion, generosity and willingness to engage that exists among a community, a network of friends, neighbors and families.

This was the second year we've held this event in Canton, but I am just as profoundly inspired as I was last year by how thoroughly you all hit the ball out of the park. You met the test with flying colors.

TTL is only as strong as its donors, in particular its continuing donors. Our network of supporters is not enormous, but our impact has been. Earlier this year, we reached our 1,000th child.

Some of those children may have lived without TTL's support. Many would not have.

Your ongoing support has literally meant the world to countless children.

Thank you.

Kevin Rector
Touching Tiny Lives Foundation Board of Directors

The safe-home babies wearing red for World AIDS Day.