Malealea is located in Lesotho, a small country in Southern Africa with a high prevalence of HIV and a mostly subsistence population. The Malealea Development Trust is a local organization that works tirelessly in our community to build a better tomorrow. We focus on Community Development, Health and Well-Being, Education, and caring for our Orphans and Vulnerable Children.
Our first area of focus is Health and Well-Being, focusing primarily on supporting the HIV+ members of our community in a holistic manner. Today, about a quarter of our population is HIV+, and while they have access to the antiretroviral (ARV) medication they need from our local clinic, living positively with HIV entails much more than mere access to medication. We play an active role in our community fighting stigma, getting people tested, ensuring that they have enough food to take with their medication, helping them to follow their specific drug regimens, and much more.
The HIV crisis reached its apex in Lesotho in the 1990s and early 2000s. The first ARV clinic was not opened until 2004, and even then it took years for the proper materials and training to make it into the mountains. These factors led to alarmingly high mortality and a devastating number of children losing one or both of their parents. Our second key area of focus is caring for these Orphaned and Vulnerable Children, who have not only suffered the severe emotional trauma of losing a parent but whose futures have also been put at risk by an epidemic outside of their control. We have a social care worker who monitors their home and academic lives and we have a scholarship fund to send them to school. We also stage events throughout the year to support their emotional and intellectual development. There are also children living with disability in our community who we both advocate for and financially support.
Education is our third area of focus. Students are dropping out of our schools at alarming rates. They are overcrowded, underfunded, under-supplied, and under-regulated. We build and refurbish classrooms to reduce overcrowding and improve the learning environment. We also provide services to supplement our students’ learning, like our computer training program and our children’s library program.
Many of the children who should be students instead must make time to assist their families make their subsistence living. The subsistence lifestyle is harmful for many reasons: lack of safety net in case of poor yields, lack of opportunity to improve one’s situation, and inability to effectively respond to crises, among countless others. Our fourth area of focus is Community Development. These projects are designed to improve the productivity of our people to help them generate income in a sustainable way and improve their quality of life.
We invite you to please explore these focus area pages with each of their important projects, and learn how you can help.