When our care centers opened in 2014, we had a big opening day party. We invited the children selected for the program as well as their caretakers.
In Southern Africa, the most common approach to dealing with the massive orphan crisis (over 34 million orphans in Sub-Saharan Africa) is for the local chief to select a living family member to care for the orphaned, or often abandoned child. This was the case with 3 brothers, Halokoe, Relebogile, and Eketsang. When their mom passed away, they were sent to live with their elderly, very ill grandfather.
The first child I ever met in our program was Relebogile. He was wearing black rain boots that had patches of rubber glued to the holes on the toes, jeans ripped completely in half, and a bright red sweater with a huge matching smile. Relebogile has two brothers (equally adorable)- Eketsang and Halokoe.
They were excited for the opening day of the care center and have rarely missed a day since then. Their grandfather loves them very much, but doesn’t have the means to provide for them. Before the care center, the boys had no access to food. They scavenged local gardens, mostly surviving on raw cabbage, lizards, and frogs. They were not attending school, as they had no uniforms, or shoes to wear to class. They also needed regular medications that they had no access to, or parent to administer to them.
Since the care center opened, the boys come every day. They receive hot meals, school uniforms, play clothes, vitamins, any needed medication, and most importantly, they know that they are loved, wanted, and part of our little family.
On one of our first days open as a care center, the ladies made homemade bread for all of the children. Halokoe sat and held his bread for a long time before finally devouring it with a big grin. When the ladies asked him why he was so happy, he whispered, “Only children with mothers get to eat homemade bread like this.” That tiny moment is burned in my mind as a reminder of the privilege it is to do this work.
Their story follows the narrative of most orphaned or abandoned children in Lesotho. Our care centers exist because we believe it’s the honor of a lifetime to care for children like these. They hold a special place in God’s heart, and ours too. Your support allows us to add children waiting for a spot in the care center each year. It allows us to fill in the gaps that tragedy left in their lives and hearts with love and redemption. We can’t do this without you. Your support and prayers make all of this possible. Thank you for going on this incredible journey with us.If you would like to give in honor of these three special brothers, click HERE.
- The Reclaimed Team