Our Missionary in Lesotho
As a church we support Jill Kinsey, who became a Christian at IECA. She founded an orphanage for around 90 AIDS affected children at Pulane, Lesotho, a small kingdom encircled by South Africa, and is now semi-retired, working with Grant Strugnell, Director, and his wife Emily.
Jill initially worked as a missionary in Mozambique and subsequently moved to Lesotho, where she set up the Semonkong Children’s Centre, helped by her daughter Tara and her family. Then in 2008 she moved to Pulane to set up the Pulane Children’s Centre in an abandoned Canadian agricultural project, leaving her daughter in charge at Semonkong. Jill, who had a stroke in 2014 which left her with a weak leg, runs the centre with a team of local staff, while various churches and groups visit to minister and assist in practical ways, such as building play equipment. She recently published a book about her life in Mozambique, details below; profits go to the work at Pulane.
A team of 6 from IECA went out in February 2015 and spent 3 weeks helping out, which gave us a real insight into the orphanage. The children attend local schools, and integrate as much as possible with their Sotho culture; they seem very happy and healthy, each having their set tasks and with the older ones helping the smaller ones.
We have a mission table each week after church, selling cakes and jams to raise funds to support this vital work. If you would like to be included on the cake rota, which entails providing a (preferably home-baked) cake a maximum of once in three months, please conatct Sue on 00351 289103873 or 00351 932099588.
“Our goal is not to change the Basotho Children. In fact, if they can stay in their village, that is ideal. But often there is no option other than taking the child into care, and ensuring they are safe, clothed, fed and happy. That’s our aim.”
More details can be found at http://www.pulanechildren.org
Thuto Shepherds School, Pulane
The Thuto Shepherds School (Thuto means ‘to learn’ in Sotho) opened in September of 2018. The head teacher is Ntate Lazero.
During September and October 24 students registered, with each paying a fee of 20 Maloti (Lesotho currency 1 Maloti = 0.06 Euro) to register. Their ages range from 12 - 53 years old. All shepherds are very keen to learn.
Four Students are part-time shepherds who also attend a local school.
Students are taught Mathematics 1 and 2; Sotho (the language of Lesotho), English, Bible study. There are three members of staff - teachers Nte Lazero and Nte David and Me Julia who is the cook. Two staff members of The Pulane Childrens Center assist one evening per week teaching Bible study and English.
The school functions four nights per week and opens at 6pm. A hot meal is served 6:30pm
One problem we have to live with is that boys will be missing some lessons when they take the flocks to the Cattle Post.
Mopeli who lives at PCC does not do well at school, he is unable to read/write/count at the end of his Primary education. We have enrolled him in the Thuto Shepherds School and he does well there, probably because many shepherd boys are in the same position.
The school will run from August to May each year; we plan to close in Winter (during June/July) when it is too cold.
Emily Strugnell, Director, who together with the local management team manages the Pulane Childrens Centre, writes about this new project:
“Night school for local shepherds is a very special project that ‘Mè Jill is leading. These boys and gentlemen are busy learning their alphabet. They aspire to one day read and write.
Shepherds often start working as children looking after their families’ animals. They spend much of their lives exposed to the elements with just their blankets to protect them. They are often overlooked as the lowliest of this culture.
So this Shepherd School project is a beautiful, practical way to show these men and boys that they are valuable to Jesus.
(This project is funded separately from PCC operations, so if you’re interested in donating to this effort, send us a message and we’ll get you the details).”