MP, businessman donate to needy pupils – Lesotho Times

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Staff Writer

BEREA #27 constituency legislator Motlatsi Maqelepo recently collaborated with a Maseru businessman, Mphethe Morakabi, to donate shoes and sanitary towels to vulnerable primary school learners in Maseru.

Mr Morakabi, a taxi operator in Maseru, provided 69 pairs of shoes which Mr Maqelepo distributed to Thuathe Primary School and Lancers Gap Primary Schools in Sehlabeng sa Thuathe in Maseru.

Mr Maqelepo also handed over sanitary towels to 70 female learners. Before distributing the sanitary towels, the legislator addressed the learners, including the boys and urged them to accept menstruation as a normal part of any girl’s development.

He noted that many school-going girls who lacked sanitary towels did not go to school during their monthly periods for fear of embarrassment.

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He also noted that in some cultures some people regarded the onset of menstruation as a sign of sexual maturity, adding that this erroneous belief had resulted in many girls being married off before they were physically and mentally prepared.

He further warned that girls who fell pregnant at very young ages were at a greater risk of experiencing pregnancy-related complications and some died while giving birth. Mr Maqelepo warned against early marriages and early pregnancies, saying these prevented girls from acquiring a sound education that would enable them to land well-paying jobs.

Mr Maqelepo discouraged boys from attending initiation schools when they were still young and urged those who had already done so to go back to school to acquire a formal education.

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The legislator is a member of the Human and Social Development and Special Programmes of the SADC Parliamentary Forum. Under this programme, he has actively supported the implementation of a Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR), HIV and AIDS Governance Project which the SADC PF has been implementing in seven SADC member states including Lesotho, with funding from the Swedish embassy in Lusaka, Zambia.

The first phase of the project ran from 2014 to March 2018. It sought to build the capacity of female parliamentarians in particular and that of national parliaments in general, to advocate for universal access to SRHR, HIV and AIDS services.

The recipients of the shoes and sanitary wear were carefully selected on the basis of their socio-economic status. Most of them are orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs).

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Mr Maqelepo thanked Mr Morakabi for partnering with him. He encouraged other business people and individuals to emulate the businessman in making a difference in the lives of children.

A female teacher at Thuathe Primary School commended Mr Maqelepo, saying it was rare for male legislators to be so passionate about SRHR-related issues. She said the legislator’s discussion with learners about menstrual health had gone a long way towards demystifying issues related to menstruation. Over the years there have been numerous reports of girls dropping out of school after being ridiculed for soiling their skirts during menstruation.

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