Thursday, October 30, 2014

Planting seeds for change

Tanki gets into the gardening spirit!
Responding to the chronic food shortage, TTL focuses on preventing and improving childhood malnutrition rates in the Mokhotlong and Thaba- Tseka districts of Lesotho. Many rural families face the ongoing risk of food insecurity given that many people do not have access to agricultural land and those that do may not have the necessary equipment and seeds. Situations like this have resulted in a stunting rate of children under-5 of almost 40% in Lesotho according to the World Food Programme.

The TTL Outreach Program has been providing children under-5 with food packages on a monthly basis consisting of, amongst a variety of other items, canned vegetables. We are always looking for ways to improve our services, and we strive to support our families in achieving food security and self-sustaining food sources -  plus we want to spread the word about how good vegetables are for a child's balanced diet! So we are excited to introduce our newest project - Needs for Seeds!

At the start of the Spring season this September, TTL Outreach staff began distributing packages of cabbage, carrots, spinach, and squash seeds to each TTL client family. Along with providing some direction on how best to use the land available for a garden, our Outreach staff will collaborate with the Lesotho District Ministry of Agriculture in Mokhotlong to make sure families are receiving  information on proper planting techniques.

We are looking forward to watching the children grow along with the new family gardens!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Happy UN Day 2014

Today marks the 69th anniversary of the United Nations, an organisation founded on the very principals of peace and prosperity. UNICEF, a programme of the U.N devised which provides long-term humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries, has long been a partner with Touching Tiny Lives. So, we would like to take they time to show our thanks and appreciation for all they have done for us over the years. 

Cheers to the next 69 years!! 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

United Nations' International Day of Rural Women

A Basotho grandmother brings her little one for a check up with TTL.
Every year, the UN invites us to celebrate the word-wide unsung heroes by celebrating International Day of Rural Women on October 15th.

This is a day to mark the important work done by rural women in the areas of agriculture and rural development by improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.

TTL works in the most rural and under-served areas of Lesotho. The women (or Bo'M'e) of Lesotho are truly the backbone of the country. At TTL, we witness Bo'M'e work tirelessly to provide for their children, grandchildren, families, and neighbors. Whether it's trekking over mountain terrain to get their children to a clinic, collecting wood, tending the garden, or cooking for the family, the Bo'M'e in rural Lesotho never cease to amaze us.

Bo'M'e are our biggest partners at TTL and today we say a huge REA LEBOHA for everything you do!

Local Bo'M'e making the journey with their children to one of the rural health clinics.

Pledge Your Birthday

Birthdays can be a nightmare. The incessant WhatsApps, emails and calls asking what you want for your big day? What on earth do you ask for when you've everything you could possibly need? 
Our newest volunteer, Ntate Thabo, has come up with an incredibly awesome, generous and selfless answer! He's decided to pledge his birthday to Touching Tiny Lives! Instead of asking for gifts from his family and friends, he has asked that they donate the money directly to TTL! 
It got us thinking, 'What if other people could do the same?' If you have a birthday coming up, and can't think of anything you want, could YOU help us to mitigate the effects of HIV/AIDS in children under the age of 5 in rural Lesotho?
What does it mean to pledge your birthday? Ask all your family and friends to donate the money they would have spent on a gift/ birthday drinks to us via this link. You can either choose to set up your own fundraising account, specifically for this campaign, OR you can ask them to simply DONATE and select the Pledge Your Birthday project.
Why us? Why Touching Tiny Lives? Let me explain our story and why we desperately need your help. We work in the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho, the land where 1/4 of the population are without work and a further 1/4 of the population have HIV or AIDS. Children are born facing life-threatening challenges from day 1. TTL started ten years ago in response to the crisis of children dying of malnutrition before their first birthday. We work within our limits to rescue one child at a time from the clutch of malnutrition and to face a brighter future. We are the only organisation serving a population of 230,000 people to mitigate the effects of HIV/AIDS in children under the age of 5. Mothers, Grandmas and Fathers walk and ride their horses for miles to reach out to us. There are few paved roads and so they are travelling across very mountainous and tough terrain. If their child is critically malnourished, we take them into the Safe Home and care for them until they are well enough to return home. We then continue our support through the Outreach team. These guys are my heroes. They drive for hours and hours every day up mountains and over ridges to deliver food packages and provide medical, nutritional & development support to families who struggle to put food on the table.
Without TTL, there would be no focused help. Without TTL, these children would have no future. Watch the video below or click here to read their stories and decide whether you can donate your gift this one year and help us continue to support children of their community,one child at a time.
How does it work? Ask people to send what they would normally spend on a gift to TTL using GivenGain! It’s best to start fundraising a few months prior to your birthday to get the ball rolling. First and foremost, give your TTL fundraising page a catchy title, for example ” £8 for my 8th Birthday!” Include your reason for pledging your birthday and maybe even a photo. Once your page is up and running, email a link to your friends and family, inviting them to donate to your page. Don’t forget to reach out to your social media network as well. Keep your donors updated about your fundraising total up until the big day and then do one last push. People will give whatever they can give and 100% of it will go directly to helping us to support more children, one child at a time. 
So, if you can, please do this to help us to continue making a difference in one of the poorest regions in the world.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts and good luck with your fundraising!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Independence Day

Good Riddance, Brits!

October 4th has come around again, bringing with it Besotho celebrations of independence from the British! Formerly Basutoland, the Kingdom of Lesotho had been a British colony for almost 100 years before it was finally granted its independence on October 4th, 1966. A huge cause for celebration. the Besotho celebrate with style across the kingdom, and this year was no different!

Independence Day celebrations
People from all over dress up in the colours representing their district and traditional songs and dances are performed throughout the day. The members of the royal family of Lesotho together with the Prime Minister and his Cabinet ministers, Heads of Diplomatic Missions, Senior Government Officials and delegates from other countries within the South African Development Community region all come to participate in the Independence Day celebrations. 

A Bit Of History

Once upon a time, Basutoland was a united country and free from foreign influence and rule. King Moshoeshoe I had unified the country into one single territory by bringing together various Sotho groups who had fled the wandering Zulus. However, it all went to pot in the 1830s when white settlers called Afrikaners, or Boers, began to encroach on Moshoeshoe's territory, Numerous border skirmishes ensued as the Basotho fought off these unwelcome settlers. Moshoeshoe lost some of his land in the 30 years of fighting between his forces and those of the Afrikaners. He had few options ahead of him and so he decided to ask the British for help in 1868, which led Britain to make Basutoland a protectorate. Moshoeshoe passed away in 1870 which is where the story gets a bit more tricky and complicated. With Moshoeshoe's death, Basutoland was places under the control of the Cape Colony in 1871. Britain resumed direct control in 1884 after a war erupted between the government of Cape Colony and the Besotho. In 1910, the Cape Colony and other British colonies united to form the Union of South Africa (which we now know as the Republic of South Africa.) According to British history books, the British government was under the impression that Basutoland would eventually be incorporated into South Africa. However, this idea was thwarted as the Basutho consistently refused to integrate. Long story short, the Basutho eventually achieved their independence from the British in 1966 after 50 years of asking the British for internal self-government. Better late than never!