Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the DREAMS Project

Our partner organisation Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has been working in Lesotho since 2002 and has been a key strategic partner of Aflatoun International since 2012.  One of their most influential initiatives is the DREAMS project, a 10-country initiative that aims to reduce new HIV infections in adolescent girls and young women.

CRS has been actively working with different groups and communities in 2019. The CNY factory in Ha- Thetsane has been partnering with CRS to implement the DREAMS initiative and provide life skills education and financial education to the factory workers. The group had 17 members initially aging from 21-24 years.. The members revealed that the project has helped them to be more resilient and that they now have determination to follow through on their “DREAMS”. They also highlighted the following goals during their share out period such as, “I want to build a one roomed house for myself,” “I want to re-invest my money after share out,” “I wish to start a business with my money,” and “I am going to purchase land for myself. ”

Moving forward, there have been negotiations with an additional six factories in Thetsane and Masowe to grant permission to hold social assets sessions. So far there have been sessions being conducted in four factories in the region.

In addition to this, ‘A Place of Safety’ which houses 20 girls between the age of 12-14 has also been working with the DREAMS project. The children were provided ‘Social Assets sessions’ up to module 8 which is the last session. However, the children only received the life skills component of the sequencing approach and not the savings part as the director at the place of safety was not comfortable with the children being involved in the savings and landings.

The Dreams Project has also been working in the district of Maseru. Ha Malefane is a small village found in Mazenod Community Council in the southern side of Maseru district in Lesotho, Southern Africa. It is one of the less privileged communities in Maseru with lack of water and no electricity. Girls from Ha Malefane are the beneficiaries in the DREAMS Project. Most of the girls in this group are young mothers, orphans and those raised by single mothers.

One of the girls, Tebello Nthabi, is an orphan who has been raised by her aunt, a factory worker who recently lost her job. This resulted in the girl dropping out of school because she couldn’t afford to pay her school fees and she was expelled. Members of her group sometimes give her maize meal and spinach to cook and have something to eat.

Tebello is an active member of both a social and financial enterprise formed by the girls at Ha Malefane. These girls have a social enterprise where they clean for the families living in absolute poverty with disabled children in their community. They also have formed a financial enterprise where they make plates from papers that are used for decorating and they sew re-usable pads (sanitary towels), dresses and shirts.

Read more about the Dreams Project and Catholic Relief Services.