The city of Quthing is the capital of the province of the same name in southern Lesotho. Quthing is home to around 27,000 people. While Lesotho’s economy has been improving over the past few years, many people, including children and young people, still live in poverty. The situation is particularly dire in the rural areas around Quthing. Agricultural production, often disrupted by drought, is the main source of income and food. Many children are malnourished, which affects their physical and mental development. Rising food and fuel prices and disrupted trade of goods and services due to Russia’s war in Ukraine have also taken a toll on the economy.
Since 1998, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Quthing.
In rural areas like Quthing Province, agricultural activities are the main source of income and food. However, land for cultivation is limited and harvests are often affected by inconsistent rainfall, recurring drought or floods. This often means a significant loss of income for many families, who then have limited resources to cover basic necessities.
In addition, access to food diminishes and many children are malnourished. As a result, about 33% of children in the area face problems regarding their physical growth and brain development, which can have severe long-term effects.
The HIV/AIDS pandemic, continues to represent a real challenge to vulnerable families in Quthing. Around 340, 000 people are estimated to be living with the virus, including many children and young people.
An increasing number have lost, or are at risk of losing, their parents to the disease. Traditionally children were raised by the whole community, but the number needing such support has become so large that neighbourhoods are no longer able to care for all. Many do not go to school, but end up in illegal employment.