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Sepheo Foundation (Lesotho)

25 February 2017 UCF Comments Off

School Fence Costs
Josh and Belinda Groves (Australians) founded Sepheo in 2013 in response to the needs of children on the streets in Lesotho, Southern Africa. Prior to this, Belinda spent 18 months on the streets understanding root causes and building relationships with children there.

Sepheo is the first point-of-call for children on the streets, it has a weekly presence on the streets, identifying any new children that have arrived and checking on those who remain.

This presence, combined with Sepheo’s other efforts, has reduced the number of children on the streets of Maseru by two-thirds, and has a > 90% success rate when reintegrating children in homes.

The Lesotho government has donated a large piece of land to Sepheo in the middle of Maseru’s most delinquent community (called “the cursed place” by locals). More than 80% of the prison population and the majority of street children originate from this village. There are disproportionate rates of child abuse, child and grandparent headed households and primary school drop outs in this village, which has been written off as hopeless.

Sepheo has been transporting children out of this village to and from school for the past 3 years. They now have an incredible opportunity to move all operations to their target community – offering school, parenting, training for girls, physical training and character development from within the target community. Project beneficiaries will include street children and other out-of school children (boys and girls), caregivers (predominantly single mothers) and unemployed youth.

Sepheo Foundation has raised a significant proportion of the costs of relocating the school onto the donated land but the final move is dependent on the erection of a fence, Sepheo requested UCF support via a small grant for the final AUD $2,500 of the fencing cost to enable construction to proceed.

Expected outcomes on completion of the fence:
30 additional places will be immediately created at Sepheo School for children who have dropped out and would otherwise never complete primary school. This includes street children, those herding cattle, children taking care of younger siblings in child-headed households and those in contact with the law.

These are perpetual positions, with new children being accepted as others graduate. Sepheo’s operating costs will be considerably reduced as they will no longer have to transport children to and from school which is now within walking distance of the majority of students.

Parenting training, physical and character development and child protection services will be provided to approximately 300 single mothers, children living alone and out -of-school youth annually.

UCF directors were pleased to approve this grant application (AUD $2,500) which was facilitated through Sepheo’s existing auspice account with ACC International Relief.