Many children can read and write in Lesotho
Schooling is compulsory in Lesotho, a country located in Africa according to localbusinessexplorer.com. Elementary school costs nothing, at least not until the end of the 7th grade. However, this compulsory schooling has only been in place since 2000. Although the country is poor, the government puts money into the education of the children, but it is still not enough. Many children also attend school – despite the country’s poverty. Nine out of ten girls and around eight out of ten boys go to primary school.
Many children leave school early
Unfortunately, most children leave school too early. From the 8th grade, only about 43 out of 100 girls attend secondary school and only 27 out of 100 boys. The secondary schools cost money up to the age of 18. After the 12th grade, students graduate in Lesotho. Unfortunately, not many children pass this test.
After all, 85 percent of Lesotho’s residents can read and write. That is a very high number for Africa. Interestingly, more girls and women can read and write, often the other way around.
Many parents don’t send their children to school – why?
Schools are not well stocked with materials. Often there is no electricity, and some schools have too few tables and chairs. There is no running water or toilets. The teachers are also often not well trained and poorly paid. The quality of the teaching is often poor.
Even if the lessons themselves do not cost anything, the books, exercise books and school uniforms have to be taken over by the parents. That costs maybe 100 to 130 euros a year. For a family who only has 30 euros a month to spend, this is a lot of money. Many parents stop sending their children to school at some point. That is why many children drop out of school, not because they want to, but because their parents cannot support them.
Long ways to school
The ways to school are very long for many children in rural areas. They often run for several hours before they get to their schools. There are only a few school buses. If there are any, it is mostly in the cities and not in the country, where they are actually urgently needed.
By the way, the children get something to eat in the schools. The government spends quite a bit of money on this. Some schools can only survive because they receive support and help from abroad or from aid organizations.
Poverty and AIDS
The AIDS rate in Lesotho is one of the highest in the world. Every fourth resident of Lesotho lives with the AIDS virus. There are more than 120,000 children here who have lost their parents, 74,000 of them to AIDS. With a population of two million people, that’s a lot. Every second child in Lesotho is poor and every fourth child no longer has parents.
Living in mud huts
Many children live in mud huts. When the parents have died, the older siblings often have to take responsibility. Usually they are still children or adolescents themselves. Usually they only have a couple of pots, a container for water and maybe even a piece of furniture. There are no closets. The clothes are kept in boxes.
Then many children only have to beg. Mutual support from other families is difficult because most of them are just as poor. They have no work, no money and no food. That is why many children in Lesotho are malnourished.
Children also love to play in Lesotho
Children in Africa also like to play. It is of course the same in Lesotho. However, they have neither plastic toys nor electronic devices here, they make do with what they find in nature. And there is a lot of sand and stones in Lesotho. A popular game among children in Lesotho is called Dithwai. Eight children can take part in this game. You can find out how this game is played in our participation tips.
Children in Lesotho also enjoy playing soccer. But a soccer ball costs a lot of money, so you can help yourself out differently and make balls out of all kinds of materials.
Poverty and child labor
Well over half of the children (500,000 out of 825,000) live below the poverty line, according to UNICEF. That means they don’t have enough money to survive. 40 out of 100 children are malnourished, they do not get enough food and they constantly have to live with hunger.
25 percent of boys and 21 percent of girls work in Lesotho. Most of them work in agriculture, for example they work as cattle herders. Others work as maids. Often they are also sent out on the streets to advertise and sell goods. Children are also sexually exploited. But children are also kidnapped and then sold in South Africa, there is also that. It is often the case that the families are dependent on the money that the children earn.