Providing Lesotho's Children with Keys to the World

This is the story of our efforts to end the vicious cycle of poverty, disease, inadequate education, and early death
in a remote rural community in Lesotho, Africa, by providing quality education and life skills
to the young children there. Join us on our journey ...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Rules and Regulations, Contracts & Fine Schedules

I've posted the agreements that the Nohana Primary School teachers worked out to guide Our Treasure Highland Computer Project.

You can see these at OTHCP Agreements or go to our Page listings to the right and click on "2011 Rules and Regulations, Contracts, and Fine Schedules."

Developing these documents took up a large portion of our time during our stay in Ketane. This, however, was not a waste of time. We spent a number of days discussing every eventuality we could think of and how to deal with each one. At first, it was like pulling teeth to get the teachers to come up with solutions, but they finally learned that we weren't going to tell them what to do, and they came up with their own set of rules and regulations for the project. We turned those into a series of separate contracts for students, parents, teachers, the school and Laptops to Lesotho. The rules and regulations and all the contracts will be translated into Sesotho before being presented for parents and students to sign.

The contract work was excruciating, and everyone dreaded those sessions. But they all attended them, and throughout the process they agreed that it was necessary and important work. I think the process was as important as the result, and I think this is what will hold the project together in the long run. Everybody knows what is expected of them, what they are responsible for, what the benefits are, and what the consequences will be when anything goes wrong.

The rules and contracts give a lot of insight into our project. I think they are well worth reading.

- Janissa

Friday, December 24, 2010

Orphans at Nohana Primary School

Here's a graph of the number and type of orphans at Nohana Primary School, broken down by grade and girls and boys. 

Nearly one of every three students at the school are classified as orphans.  Seventy-one (23%) have lost one parent, and 19 (6%) have lost both parents, most due to the AIDS epidemic.

paternal = father died
maternal = mother died
complete = both parents died

All the children in Ketane need our help, but these children especially. We are working hard to give them a better future.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

What's Next?

There is still more to be done to guarantee the long-term sustainability of this project. Our main goals for the near future are two-fold:
  • Our first major goal is to continue working closely with the teachers. We want to help them maintain and advance their computer skills and to help them develop lessons and classroom materials using the laptops.
  • Our second major goal is to expand the solar power system and to increase the number of computers at the school so more children can take them home.
  • We also want to develop a more comprehensive method of evaluating the real gains of this project.
- Janissa

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2010 Trip Report Available

I've posted a detailed report of what we did and did not accomplish on our recent trip. 

Click here to see the report: 2010 Trip Report

You can also find the report by going to our Pages list in the right hand column and clicking on "2010 Trip Report." 

- Janissa

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Recent Donations & Pledges

Recently, we have been very fortunate to receive several large pledges of funding and a number of cash donations:

Maseru Rotary Club - M10,000 (about $1500)
Anonymous Foundation - R50,000 (about $7500)

Cash Donations
Faye Farmer - $25
Mike Fisher - $20
O'Hara Fleming - $250
Peter Siegenthaler - $100
USFWS Southeast Idaho Refuge Complex employees - $100

Ninety of the 314 students at Nohana Primary School are classified as orphans. Those children meet their daily needs with help from their extended families, the local community, and the World Food Program, which provides them with two basic meals each day.

What our project hopes to do is look beyond their immediate daily needs and save their futures. We strive to prepare them to achieve better, healthier lives so their children, and grandchildren, aren't destined to face life as orphans.

Thank you for your support. Together we are making a positive change and giving these children real hope for a better future.

- Janissa

Monday, December 20, 2010

First Deployment Trip: Planned Objectives and Tasks Accomplished

Here's a quick summary of the objectives of our recent trip to Lesotho and what we actually managed to accomplish. Much more detailed information will follow soon.  
  1. Deliver computers and supplies to Nohana Primary School:
         Completed, except scanner - repair part ordered 
  2. Provide secure storage for laptops and project supplies:
  3. Supply additional educational and HIV/AIDS materials:
         Partially completed, ongoing 
  4. Set up a generator and charging system to power the laptops:
         Mostly completed, system functional, will be fully completed soon
  5. Set up a network server with internet access:
         Not completed, though we expect it to be completed before the new school year in January
  6. Train the teachers in computer skills, how to use the laptops for lessons in their classrooms, basic laptop reformatting and repairs, and generator operation and maintenance:
  7. Negotiate contracts between all parties involved:
  8. Develop community and regional support:
         Successful, ongoing
All in all, the project has been a great success thus far. There were a few glitches that still need to be addressed, but that's not unexpected when working in a developing nation and a very remote setting. All the glitches are being actively dealt with, and we believe they will be resolved in the very near future.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Back from Lesotho

My brother, Craig, and I have been back a little over a week from our trip to Lesotho.  There is so much to tell, and still so much more work to do.  Over the next week or so, I'll try to fill you in on all that happened on our trip.  

In the meantime, you can see a photo album of our trip, with informative captions, at Laptops to Lesotho 2010 trip.  This link takes you to a page of thumbnails.  Click on 'View Photos' to see the larger versions.

- Janissa