Lesotho Film Festival at The Hub

The Hub hosted Lesotho Film Festival on November 23, 2022. We enjoyed watching local films about Bacha Shutdown, heritage in the Morija region, and more! The afternoon left us inspired to keep creating and telling stories from Lesotho.

Two of The Hub’s films are part of the festival this year:

Ke Batla Ho Bua by The Hub, directed by Liteboho Molato

Re Ipate Kae? by The Hub featuring Queen Mo, directed by Sehlabaka Rampeta

Thanks to Lesotho Film Festival for screening the following films at The Hub:

Two Countries by Motikoe Khiba

Siriti by Tšepiso Mahase

Motlalentoa by Katleho Monyako and Khotso Monyako

Mitsa by Moleboheng Khothatso

Soul Connected by Ayesha Khuele

To find out more dates and locations for free film screenings, follow this link!

Thanks to The Hub Team for making the event a success!

Lesotho Commemorates the Transgender Day of Remembrance

On Friday 18 November 2022, as part of our support of Human Rights in Lesotho, The Hub joined Lesotho’s LGTBQI+ advocacy organisation, The People’s Matrix Association, in a commemoration of the Transgender Day of Remembrance. The day began with a peaceful march through the centre of Maseru, starting at Setsoto Stadium and ending at Victoria Hotel. A procession of LGBTQI+-identifying Basotho and allies walked peacefully together in solidarity through the streets, with the majority of participants dressed in symbolic black attire, interspersed with the bright colours of rainbow and transgender flags.

At Victoria Hotel, the group congregated in a large hall decorated with rainbow flags and banners. An important moment in the day was when all of the lights were dimmed and attendees held lit candles, sang together, and observed a shared moment of silence in remembrance of transgender-identifying people who have suffered from discrimination and violence.

Giselle Ratalane, Project Coordinator at the People’s Matrix Association, spoke of the numerous challenges faced by transgender-identifying Basotho. Ratalane explained that ‘one in three transgender people in Lesotho (36 percent) has been denied access to health care.

’This is in part due to the many hurdles that transgender Basotho face when attempting to apply for legal gender recognition. Although Lesotho’s legal framework does allow for this, Ratalane commented on the fact that ‘outdated terminology, inconsistencies, and a lack of guidelines limit the ability of transgender persons to successfully apply for legal gender recognition on their identity documents.’

– Giselle Ratalane

‘It was wonderful to have so many people here today,’ said Ratalane, ‘and to have so many transgender people coming out for the day visibly, publicly, and also proudly. It’s not easy in Lesotho today to be somebody who is visibly cross-dressing or expressing yourself differently from what is expected. We still get a backlash in what continues to be a very patriarchal society. This leads to many instances of violence, discrimination, and harassment. But even with these challenges, so many transgender people are choosing to publicly appear at events like today’s, which is really important.’

Founded in 2008, the People’s Matrix Association has been at the forefront of pressing for equal rights for LGBTQI+-identifying Basotho. Commenting on the organisation’s future advocacy plans for transgender rights, Ratalane spoke of immediate plans following the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

‘We are working with strategic stakeholders in both the NGO space and the government to discuss legal gender recognition. We’re hoping to work together with the government to modify laws and adopt a bill for the protection of transgender people. This will help transgender people in Lesotho to get their gender markers changed without any of the hurdles that they currently face today.’ 

Photos from the day

Hearing screenings by Kutlong Centre For Hearing

On November 11, 2002, The Hub hosted Kutlong Centre For Hearing for free hearing screenings for parents and guardians of Skills & Soup participants, and members of the community.

We were overwhelmed by the number of people who came to look for the services, making it clear that they are needed services!

58 people received hearing screenings by Kutlong Centre For Hearing at The Hub

Some of the participants requested to include eye tests as well. The Hub held a blood donation drive in 2020, and we are now looking into making an annual event for free health services. Contact us if you would like to be involved!

Special thanks to Kutlong Centre For Hearing!

World Cleanup Day 2022

To commemorate World Cleanup Day 2022, we brought our 100 Skills & Soup participants for tours at Pheha Plastic in Morija.

Our theme for 2022 was ‘REFUSE’, ‘REDUCE’ and ‘RECYCLE’, especially for single use plastic, and thinking about a future where we don’t need cleanup campaigns.

Although Skills & Soup participants have been participating in environmental education, the tours allowed the participants to experience recycling hands-on, and see waste transform into a valuable item.

Through the tours, the participants gained a deeper understanding of the potential of a circular economy in our community. Increasing awareness of the value of recycled plastic can help reduce the amount that ends up in our rivers, and eventually the ocean.

Special thanks to Pheha Plastic for hosting us all week, and to Glasswaters Foundation for their support! Big thanks also to Vodacom Lesotho Foundation and European Union in Lesotho for sponsoring incredible prizes for our participants, given out as rewards for good participation and answering difficult questions about what they have learned!

The Hub’s experience with cleanup campaigns:

Skills & Soup

In partnership with Glasswaters Foundation and Dolen Cymru, Skills & Soup continues to provide 100 children in Morija and surrounding communities with weekly nutritional meals, life skills, and after-school tuition.

Overview of The Hub’s Skills & Soup programming
  • 100 weekly participants range in age from 8-18 from Morija and surrounding villages.
  • The participants attend the programming free of charge.
  • Provides after-school tutoring in IT, maths, English, science, technology, coding, mental well-being, and sign language lessons, as well as daily programming during school holidays.
  • Skills & Soup works toward lowering the incidence of gender-based violence through life skills and mental health programming which educates participants about the definitions of sexual abuse and where to find help if they are being abused.
  • Skills & Soup programming also emphasises gender equality, mutual respect and caring, and healthy coping mechanisms as ways of reducing the incidence of gender-based violence in future generations.
Skills & Soup in 2022

Through January – September 2022:

  • 182 sessions held
  • 3,640 hot meals served
  • 3,640 take-home rations served
Meals at Skills & Soup
  • Prepared by Cafe Mojo, a female-owned and run business.
  • Daily highly nutritious hot meal includes protein, starch, vegetables.
  • Daily highly nutritious take-home ration includes 2 loaves of locally baked fortified brown bread, peanut butter, boiled egg, fruit.
  • The Hub has eliminated single-use plastic by having participants bring their own reusable lunch containers.
Skills & Soup catering supports local businesses in Morija by purchasing:
  • 200 loaves of bread from a local bakery weekly.
  • Eggs and seasonal vegetables from local farmers weekly.
Recent M&E quotations from our Skills & Soup participants, reflecting the impact of our weekly nutritional and educational programming:
Skills & Soup participants on their meals:
  • “I always share the bread with my siblings and we make a lunch box the following day.”
  • “Sometimes I leave home with an empty stomach and this is where the food makes a difference, especially the take-home ration.”
  • “Sometimes at home we are without food, the food at S&S enables me to eat during such times.”
  • “I feel energized after eating and I am able to actively participate during the lessons.”
  • “I have the opportunity to eat a variety of food and the take-home ration enables me to have a lunch box the following day, which I hardly have on other days.”
  • “When I left home on an empty stomach I know that at least I will eat a good meal when I get here.”
  • “At Skills & Soup I have a chance of changing a meal, almost daily at home it’s either there is no food or we have pap with cabbage or spinach.”
  • “I learned that if we are in class, but hungry, we can’t focus and hear anything. So I have learned that food and a good diet is important for our educational development.”
  • “Sometimes at home there is nothing to eat in the afternoon, the food helps me when there is such a crisis at home.”
  • “Our facilitators love us and care for us a lot. They ensure that nobody goes home hungry and sleeps on an empty stomach. So I have learned and experienced what love is.”
Skills & Soup participants on educational tutoring:
  • “I have learnt the importance of taking my studies seriously.”
  • “I learned about how to be a good reader and an active participant in my country in building it positively.”
  • “I now participate in school activities including English debate.”
  • “I learned that it is very important to read books.”
  • “I learned the importance of being able to communicate with all kinds of people.”
  • “I’m getting more fluent with English because of our interactions at Skills & Soup.”
  • “I like it when we don’t understand our school subjects, that is where Skills & Soup comes in with tutoring.
Skills & Soup participants on well-being tutoring:
  • “When I have stress I am no longer isolating myself from other people, I go out and play.”
  • “I learned to accept myself the way I am and to love myself”
  • “I have learned to be good with resolving conflicts.”
  • “I am confident and I can stand peer pressure. I am able to take my stand and make positive decisions.”
  • “I liked learning about child abuse. She taught me that if a girl is sexually abused, it must be reported to the police station. She also taught me that I must not abuse other children.”
  • “I have learned to respect and to take care of other kids and to have self-confidence even when mocked or rejected by other kids due to vulnerability.”
  • “The lessons helped to take care of myself and my friends by understanding the importance of abiding with Covid-19 regulations.”
In 2022, The Hub expanded Skills & Soup:
  • Bringing back Hub Talks – monthly motivational talks by visiting entrepreneurs, artists, professionals and activists.
  • Skills & Soup outreach – monthly outreach to rural, digitally excluded schools to provide an introduction to coding using tablets and Scratch, as well as mental well-being lessons.
  • Visiting psychologist – monthly visits by Lebohang Bereng, a professional psychologist, to provide psychosocial support for Skills & Soup participants.
  • Well-being outreach – bi-weekly outreach to local schools to discuss issues youth are faced with, and healthy ways to cope with the problems.
  • Well-being for teachers – monthly well-being support for local teachers.