A search for greener pastures led Lipalesa and her best friend Palesa to South Africa, where many Basotho women, men, and sometimes children migrate in search of job opportunities. Lesotho has a high poverty rate, which usually leaves many people, especially children, vulnerable to many forms of exploitation. After finishing free, primary education, many poor children are unable to continue with their education, which often exposes them to early childhood marriage, child labor, and the repeated cycle of poverty.
After finishing their primary school education, Lipalesa and Palesa were also faced with the same situation. They were only 15 years old but had dreams of making something of themselves. Lipalesa was excited to hear from her parents that a lady from a neighboring village was looking for two girls to work in a shop in Pretoria. She ran to her friend with the news, who was equally excited. They wasted no time and immediately prepared to leave. They were told not to worry about their lack of travel documents, and they crossed into South Africa illegally.
They, nor their families, realized the dangers in accepting “employment” under these dubious circumstances. Thankfully, a thorough interview of the girls and potential employers by authorities in South Africa immediately revealed that they were minors and that there was a high risk of sexual exploitation and child labor. They were found and kept in a South African shelter for counseling and education on human trafficking, as well as vocational training.
Beautiful Dream Society (BDS) was happy to work with the Lesotho Ministry of Social Development after the children were repatriated to Lesotho to help reunite them with their families. While in the BDS shelter, they received food, clothing, and medical and psychological care. Our survivors are also taught to cook, sew, and grow vegetables in a garden while they are in our care.
The girls are looking forward to rejoining their communities and restarting life in their village. With the training they have received through BDS and the other shelter they stayed in South Africa, they hope to start a small business for themselves with the help of their families.
Thank God that these girls were assisted before too much exploitation could happen. We also want to thank our Beautiful Dream Society partners who help us provide the crisis care these girls need to move forward with the next chapter of their lives. Thank you, thank you, thank you!