Mapaseka Veronica Matekane
Fund Development Communications Committee, ICT Trainer Hermann Gmeiner Primary School Maseru SOS Children's Villages in Lesotho
photo: © Stefan Lechner Photography
Achievements through goals
It was five years ago when I was nominated to conduct a fundraising event in the education programme for the primary school. I planned a big fundraising event, with no idea of how it was going to succeed. I had no connections of any kind as it was new for me.
I had to come up with the kind of event I was supposed to organise, because I was given a target to achieve. I looked into different ideas for several days and came up with a fashion show event for both boys and girls. I went to my supervisor to sell the idea to him but he did not like it, as he believed that it would not generate the targeted amount. For my part, I had already pictured it and imagined what it would be like. After three days, I approached him again, showed him the plan of what the event would be like and he agreed, even though he was not totally convinced.
The art of convincing, carrying out and succeeding
This gave me a chance to write proposals to different companies and to individuals to support the event. I recruited the children who were interested in performing in the fashion show. After getting the participants, I looked for the trainers within the school who would train the children in their different roles. The fashion show was divided into 4 categories: modern, traditional, eco-friendly and colour blocking.
While preparing the children, I also had to organise the venue, persuade the judges and the DJ to help us and hire a sound system. I called the parents of the children who were going to take part in the show to give them a picture of what was happening, and to ask for their support for their children in whatever was required. Most of the parents attended and were very positive in supporting their children, while others could not make it.
The time came for me to submit my event proposal to my finance office and it was turned down because it was not in the budget. My supervisor wrote a motivational letter to support my proposal but the proposal was still not approved. I told my supervisor to work on my proposal because it was now out of my control.
Little did I know that trouble still awaited me. I went to follow up on the proposals I had submitted to different companies and I heard more shocking news. Of the five companies I had submitted proposals to, three did not go well, including two beauty salons, which were going to support the participants with hair and make-up. They told me that they were unable to support SOS Children’s Villages because it is one of the richest organisations, with its good cars and beautiful buildings.
A reputation that did not favour this project
I was so disappointed. I foresaw the failure of this event. Fortunately, some companies and individuals responded well by giving foodstuffs and drinks to be sold to generate more income and prizes to be presented to the winners. One company also paid for the sound system. In addition, my supervisor, with the help of the National Director, assisted in the approval of the event proposal I had submitted and it was approved. The event was successful after long perseverance and stress.
Afterwards, I went back to the companies that had rejected my proposals to explain to them how SOS Children’s Villages operates and why it has that beautiful infrastructure. We invited them to some SOS events, such as Hermann Gmeiner’s birthday on 23rd June, so that they could really get to know what SOS Children’s Villages is all about. Some now sponsor the events that we host, while we are still lobbying some others to support us.
It is because of these kind of events that I host annually that, in 2017, I was appointed by the National Director to assist in the National Fundraising team. Even though we need funds locally, the greatest challenge we face is that people perceive SOS Children’s Villages as rich and therefore cannot support it. This made me realise that publicity campaigns and awareness are essential. As for the government, it is very difficult to get support for the organisation because of the political instability in the country.
Mapaseka Veronica Matekane
As an educator, Mapaseka trains new SOS co-workers and pupils in Information Communication Technology at the Hermann Gmeiner Primary School in Maseru, Lesotho. Teaching motivates her! Her students teach her too. Through them she learns e.g. about different cultures, religions and abilities. Mapaseka loves her job as a child advocate and in helping the children realise their own potential.
Mapaseka is convinced that family life contributes to our personality. She thinks that family offers support, love and a feeling of belonging to someone. She believes that a strong family can help in making the correct decisions in life, no matter how the family is made up. In her view, “God gave us families to help us become what he wants us to be."
In her spare time she likes to serve in her church, which makes her happy and relaxes her. Mapaseka is also a Sunday school teacher. This work and the chance to spend time with the kids on Sundays as well, makes her very happy.