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Kickstarting Young Lives in Lesotho

Stephen Moerane’s home country, Lesotho, has one of the world’s highest HIV rates, and he has lost a number of relatives to AIDS. Working back home for the nonprofit Kick4Life, Stephen (Waterford Kamhlaba UWC, Whitman ’15) has managed an HIV testing initiative, and he runs two programs that build life, financial, and employability skills in adolescent girls and young women.

“Gender inequality and abuse have been prevalent in our culture, and these continue to permeate our daily lives,” Stephen writes. “Kick4Life is at the forefront of these issues, and empowers young people to think critically about their life choices and their place in Lesotho.”

Kick4Life is both a soccer club and a social enterprise, whose mission is to change the lives of vulnerable young people through activities that center on “health, education, and support towards sustainable livelihoods,” says kick4life.org. It delivers a range of social services, including HIV testing and counseling.

“The work that Kick4Life does is particularly exciting because it deals with issues I am daily affected by, and therefore passionate about eradicating,” Stephen writes. Participants in the flagship program, the Kick4Life Academy, often remind him of himself not so long ago — adolescents who have a daily to-do list of chores, and must work hard just to attend school.

“We recruit nationwide, then support them through their high-school years in academics, football, and character development,” Stephen explains. “At the completion of this program, we assist them in their applications to junior colleges in the United States and the United Kingdom. My UWC education taught me a lot about world peace, character building and community support,” he adds. “I also learned a lot about patriotism, which is why I’m back working in Lesotho.”