SEVENTEEN HigherLife Foundation Lesotho students have defied the Covid-19 pandemic by graduating with diplomas and degrees from five different institutions of higher learning in Lesotho.
The 17 graduated at different ceremonies in October and November 2020.
Sponsored by Econet Telecom Lesotho, nine of the graduates are from the National University of Lesotho (NUL), three from NUL's Institute of Extra Mural Studies (IEMS), two each from Lerotholi Polytechnic and Maluti Adventist College of Nursing and one from Roma College of Nursing.
Econet Public Relations Manager, Puleng Masoabi congratulated the graduates for persevering until completing their studies despite challenges like Covid-19.
"Our journey with the students did not start when they transitioned from high school to tertiary school but they were identified and accepted into the scholarship when they were doing their Form A to D at different schools in the country," Ms Masoabi said.
"Covid-19 led to lockdowns and school closures which made learning more difficult until some introduced online classes."
HigherLife Foundation scholarships cater for orphaned and vulnerable children from different backgrounds and these students were also supported with data and gadgets to enable them to do online learning. They also got food packages depending on individual needs.
The beneficiaries enrolled for different programmes including nursing and midwifery, law, chemistry and technology and mass communication among others.
One of the beneficiaries Fusi Ratalane, who has been sponsored since 2014 when he was only in Form D said he was grateful to HigherLife.
"HigherLife has helped me a lot especially because I wasn't expecting something this huge to happen to me," Mr Ratalane said.
Apart from paying his school fees, HigherLife also assisted with his wellbeing by ensuring that he had food among other needs.
Higherlife Foundation is a social impact organisation that invests in human capital to build thriving individuals, communities and sustainable livelihoods. It was founded by Strive and Tsitsi Masiyiwa in 1996 out of their deep Christian faith, heartfelt compassion as well as their personal experiences of orphan-hood.
HigherLife Foundation Lesotho Social Business Unit (SBU) was established in 2011, to assist orphaned, vulnerable and talented Basotho students who are prejudiced due to social factors inclusive of those affected and infected by the HIV and AIDS pandemic.
Since 2011, Econet Telecom Lesotho has been setting aside two percent of its annual revenue to invest in the lives of the orphaned and vulnerable children guided by six strategic pillars, namely; quality education, health and wellbeing, girls' empowerment, leadership and lifelong development, job creation and sustainable livelihoods and faith and development. Over 45, 000 lives have been impacted and 1313 needs-based scholarships awarded with 58 graduates from USA, Canada, NUL, IEMS, Centre of Accounting Studies (CAS), Lesotho Agricultural College, Lesotho College of Education, National Health Training College and Lerotholi Polytechnic.