Grandmother Support Program
Help Lesotho has a unique mandate to support grandmothers. Grandmothers are the key support structure for children in Lesotho and are essential to their survival. With so many children left orphaned by AIDS, grandmothers have filled the role of parents and guardians. They have the burden and the unique opportunity to support their grandchildren to become educated young leaders.
Why Support Grandmothers?
Grandmothers require multi-faceted, holistic support. Many of them have lost their own children and family members to HIV/AIDS, leaving them confused, lonely and grief-stricken. These grandmothers are largely uneducated and unfamiliar with the disease that has claimed their loved ones. As grandmothers assume the responsibility of raising orphaned children, they struggle to communicate and relate with children who have been born into a very different generation. Despite their own poverty, illnesses and hopelessness, grandmothers have opened their homes and hearts to Lesotho’s orphaned children.
Help Lesotho supports grandmothers who are raising orphaned and vulnerable children by helping them cope with their grief and loss and develop strategies to best support the children in their care.
Help Lesotho’s Grandmother Support Program supports grandmothers as they grieve the loss of their children while simultaneously caring for their orphaned grandchildren. Dealing with poverty themselves, many grandmothers struggle to clothe, feed and educate these vulnerable children. By working with grandmothers, Help Lesotho has the ability to reach entire families with real support and education. The grandmothers selected for the program are identified by local chiefs in the rural villages where the program operates.
Grandmothers are invited to a monthly Grandmother Day where they will build a strong support network with other grandmothers in the area. Each monthly meeting focuses on a different topic, ranging from dealing with grief and loss, teaching children about the risks of HIV/AIDS, to ways to care for sick family members and friends. Grandmothers are also supported to build a village support network that will ensure program sustainability beyond the 2-year formal program. Other benefits include:
- Repairs for damaged huts
- Food parcels with essential cooking supplies
- Support to build a key-hole garden and plant seeds
- Blankets and shoes
- Assistance with income generating projects