An project for introducting agriculture as a career. Farming, market gardening and food crops are seen here as opportunities for the future of deaf and hard-of-hearing students at St Paul’s School in Hlotse, Lesotho.
Lesotho is a small landlocked country in South Africa, where 43% of the population lives below the poverty line ($ 1.25 a day) and more than 23% of the adult population is HIV positive.
St Paul’s School was established in 1981, and was the first school for children and young people with hearing loss in the country. It is located in the northern part of the country about 92 km from the capital Maseru. It is administered, in accordance with the laws of Lesotho governing the education sector, by a school board composed of representatives of the teaching body, parents and the local chief.
St Paul works as a boarding school and is currently in charge of 200 children, to whom is offers the chance to come out of their isolation by learning sign language and receiving quality education and living environment. At the end of their schooling, the children return to their village of origin and continue to be followed by the school for a professional insertion.
Since 2015, The Ivory Foundation has supported St Paul by setting up a pilot farm on the grounds of this school. The goal is twofold:
-To meet the needs of the school canteen by self-production of vegetables, eggs, milk, and pork.
-By training the children of the school, and especially the older ones, to a know-how that will be useful when they return to their respective villages.
In 2018, the principle of a micro farm is developed to offer older children the opportunity to settle with a self-made building, a herd, and tools and seeds to start their own business in their village of origin.