A group of 36 Peace Corps from the United States (US) have undergone a swearing-in ceremony to signal the official beginning of their voluntary work in Lesotho.
The volunteers will assist in the health and education sectors around the country.
Their swearing-in was officiated by the U.S. ambassador to Lesotho, Maria Elena Brewer during a ceremony held in Marakabei, outside of the Maseru city earlier this week.
The ceremony featured performances from the local cultural music and dancers. Her Majesty Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Seeiso was among the high profile dignitaries and government officials in attendance.
Started in 1967 by former U.S. President, John F Kennedy, Peace Corps is an outreach programme to enhance the relationship of the US and other countries by sending out volunteers to help in those countries.
Their assistance is in the form of different fields of expertise like health, education and community service.
Since the first batch of Peace Corps landed in Lesotho some 56 years ago, a total of 2641 volunteers have been deployed in the country to date.
According to Ambassador Brewer, the previous Peace Corps batch, which consisted of 16 members, was deployed in six districts where they positively impacted the lives of over 4000 people.
“The health volunteers will focus on preventing new HIV infections as well as all HIV related infections and matters. While the education practitioners will work on educating children on life skill based sexual education,” the ambassador said.
On her part, Her Majesty the Queen said the Peace Corps deployment in Lesotho solidifies the US-Lesotho relations.
“The relationship between Lesotho and the US is further strengthened by the engagement of the Peace Corps Lesotho volunteers who continue to do a remarkable job throughout the country.”
Her Majesty also passed words of gratitude to the families that hosted and taught the volunteers the culture and language of Basotho for the three months ahead of commencing their official duties.
“The sharing and learning of one another’s skills, cultures, norms and language will help these volunteers to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively as the language barrier is broken down,” the Queen said.