MOHALE ORPHAN SUPPORT ASSOCIATION - M.O.S.A
HIV and AIDS can affect any of these children’s lives at any time – the death of a parent, a sibling or a grandparent. Our objective is to help these children become motivated students by sending them to school and become the future leaders of tomorrow.
The word mosa means kindness in Lesotho, and is also the acronym for Mohale Orphan Support Association, a small sponsorship program initiated by Belinda Laidley, a medical student who volunteered in Lesotho.
The realization is that the HIV/AIDS epidemic severely impacts families in Lesotho. With infection rates as high as 50-percent, all of Mohale High School’s students were somehow affected by this often deadly virus – whether their parents or relatives were HIV positive, a parent or relative had passed away leaving them orphaned, or the students themselves were infected. Education was and still is the greatest tool for preventing the spread of this disease and overcoming the cycle of poverty that ultimately drives the epidemic.
Education in Lesotho is not considered a right by any standard. While the fees for primary school (the equivalent of elementary and middle-school combined) were eliminated in the past decade, high school tuition, books, uniforms and other costs remain compulsory. Thus explains why less than a quarter of the population earns a high school diploma. In addition, thousands of Lesotho’s children have been orphaned due to HIV/AIDS, and are now heads-of-household caring for younger siblings. Belinda created the M.O.S.A. scholarship fund, which (due to limited resources) offers high school tuition sponsorship for select, dedicated high school students.
Once selected for sponsorship, these students are expected to maintain a high level of performance throughout their academic career. To date, 15 students have been recommended by principals and teachers of rural primary schools in villages throughout the Mohale region – some as far as a 6-hour walk from Mohale High School that not even a 4×4 vehicle can navigate. These students with big dreams and a strong work ethic were the highest achievers in their classes and overcame great adversities in their young lives and have earned the name “Flying Eagles Scholars” with the hope that upon their graduation from high school, they will find success and reciprocate the benevolence extended to them.