In a touching tribute to World Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day, His Majesty King Letsie III delivered a promise that resonated deeply with those living with cerebral palsy and their families.
The King vowed unwavering support for individuals living with Cerebral Palsy (CP) through their association, the Morate Cerebral Palsy Association of Lesotho.
The celebration was not just a symbolic gesture for the King, but a profound learning experience.
â€œI have learned also that the association requested to celebrate with me because of my role as the Champion for Nutrition, and this is because nutrition plays an important role in the life of a person with CP,â€ His Majesty said when addressing the event at the Royal Palace in Maseru.
The gravity of the condition hit home as he acknowledged that some children with CP lose their lives due to malnutrition.
Recognising the limitations of government resources, the King pledged to leverage his connections within the business community to secure additional support for the association.
In a moment of raw sincerity, the King also extended his gratitude to the parents of children with CP.
He acknowledged the immense courage and boundless love it takes to raise a child facing such challenges.
â€œThe government is committed to many things on a low budget, in that case, they need help and another help could be found from the business sector,â€ he said.
Minister of Gender, Youth, Sports, Arts, Culture, and Social Development, Pitso Lesaoana, echoed the need for heightened support as the number of people with disabilities, including CP, continues to rise.
According to the 2016 Population and Housing Census, 2.5 percent of the population in Lesotho was registered as disabled. This figure has seen a drastic surge, with 450 documented cases of children living with cerebral palsy in 2023, up from 180 in 2020.
World Cerebral Palsy Day, a global social movement, stands as a poignant occasion to celebrate and affirm the lives of individuals grappling with this condition.
This yearâ€™s theme, â€˜A billion reasons to celebrateâ€™, holds particular significance for Lesotho. The ratification of the Yearn Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability, Lesaoana said.
He said the ratification has ushered in transformative changes, including the enactment of the Persons with Disability Act of 2021 and the establishment of the disability advisory council this year.
â€œTruly we have reasons to celebrate as the country,â€ the Minister said.
Chairman of Morate Cerebral Palsy Association of Lesotho, Taelo Jack, illuminated the significance of the awareness day, which first found its roots in 2012.
Its purpose remains to forge connections between those living with cerebral palsy, their families, supporters, and organizations worldwide.
Jack underscored that cerebral palsy encompasses a range of brain conditions that manifest before, during, or shortly after birth.
He said: â€œIt is a physical disability that affects movement and coordination and can impact different parts of the body. It is not a disease, an illness, or something that someone can catch.â€