On Wednesday, December 17, 2014 United States Ambassador Matthew Harrington swore in Lesotho’s new group of Peace Corps volunteers. The Peace Corps is a volunteer organization, funded by the U.S. Government, that sends Americans to developing countries to help build skills capacity among host country nationals and form lasting cross-cultural relationships. The United States Peace Corps was established in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy. Today there are more than 7,000 Peace Corps volunteers serving in 65 countries around the world.
Peace Corps volunteers in Lesotho serve in two programs: Education and Healthy Youth. Volunteers in the Education program serve as primary school teachers of English, and secondary school teachers of mathematics. Volunteers in the Healthy Youth program work with community-based organizations to contribute to the prevention of HIV/AIDS among youth, assist in care and treatment of HIV positive youth, and help prepare youth for future employment.
This new group of 32 volunteers will serve as part of the Education program in all ten districts of Lesotho, including some of the country’s most remote areas. Today’s swearing in ceremony was the culmination of a ten week intensive training program in Sesotho language and culture and technical training in education and youth development. The training was conducted in the villages of Ha Mothebesoane, Ha Koali and Ha Lephoi and Ha Ramonyaloe in the Berea district, where the volunteers stayed with local families.
More than 2,200 volunteers have served in Lesotho since 1967, working mostly in rural areas where there is the most need and the fewest resources. The Peace Corps is an active participant in the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and all volunteers use their community organizing skills to extend the reach of national and international efforts to respond to the epidemic in Lesotho.