About Lesotho, Part 2, The Crisis
In 2000 Lesotho’s King Letsie declared the HIV/AIDS pandemic a “national disaster”.
With one of the world’s very worst rates of HIV/AIDS infection, Lesotho is facing a long term development emergency on a scale never witnessed before.
Life expectancy at birth has been cut from 60 years in 1991 to a staggering 40 years now. The survival of the Basotho people is at stake.
Naming HIV/AIDS as Lesotho’s ‘number one enemy’, both the King and Prime Minister have been HIV-tested in public to encourage people to take tests.
Despite this high profile acknowledgement, Lesotho is still being crippled by the pandemic and the combination of that with poverty and drought have rendered more than half the country dependent on food assistance.
Unemployment levels are extremely high and the UN describes 40% of the population as ‘ultra-poor’.
In 2000, along with all world leaders of the United Nations member states, Lesotho adopted the UN Millennium Declaration and accepted its Development Goals as being, amongst other things, to:
- combat HIV/AIDS
- eradicate extreme poverty
- provide universal primary education
For more on Lesotho’s Millennium Development Goal Targets, click here.
Unfortunately progress towards these goals has been slow. For example, despite emergency food donations, it seems unlikely that Lesotho will eradicate hunger or extreme poverty by 2015. (source UNICEF)
The ruthless HIV/AIDS pandemic, extreme poverty, drought, high unemployment and few natural resources mean that Lesotho is a country in crisis. The children are suffering the most from these problems, and without them there is no future for the country. Desperate action is needed to fight these issues and Sentebale believes that through its ambitious plans to transform the lives of Lesotho’s children, they can have a future.
* The description above provided by Sentebale.