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Human Rights Student Visit to Lesotho

Date: From Saturday 20 June 2020 to Sunday 05 July 2020
Venue: Lesotho, South Africa

GoGlobal Fund: £500
Apply by: 31 January 2020

Durban, South Africa
Clarens, South Africa
Malealea, Lesotho (Main part of visit)
Pilanesberg, South Africa

The Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice will be leading its second student visit to Lesotho in partnership with the South Yorkshire charity Africa's Gift in June/early July 2020. The aim of the visit is to have a direct positive impact on human rights, specifically on the health and education of women and children in the country. 

The two week trip will involve a visit to the factory that produces the Wonderbag in Durban, South Africa, followed by a visit to Clarens in South Africa and to the mountain kingdom of Lesotho to encourage use of the bags and to sell them at low cost to local people and demonstrate their use to ensure they are used effectively and have the intended positive impact. The project will also enable children to attend school through the distribution of school shoes.

The situation in Lesotho

Lesotho is a spectacular, mountainous, rural country. June will be the winter season and it can be very cold. Lesotho is one of the poorest countries and has one of the lowest life expectancies for women in the world, and offers few educational opportunities for children especially after primary school age. A large percentage of men in Lesotho carry out subsistence farming, or work in poor conditions in mines in South Africa. AIDS has had a devastating impact on the country, often brought back to Lesotho from the men working in South Africa. This means that women in Lesotho are often caring for large numbers of children including orphans.

Women's life expectancy is particularly impacted by the fact that they carry out the vast majority of the cooking for their extended family on an open fire often inside a tent. Inhalation of smoke means lung disease is a serious problem. The other impacts of open fire cooking are:

  • Environmental - use of wood and water. The staple diet is beans which take a long time to cook, and use large amounts of water and firewood.
  • Time poverty - women and often children spend most of their time collecting firewood, collecting water from wells, topping up cooking with water, and watching the fire (meaning much less time for education or paid work).
  • Fire accidents - children are hurt in cooking accidents because of easy access to open fires and boiling water.
  • Women's safety - during collection of firewood and water, women sometimes walk to very remote areas and experience sexual assault.

The Wonderbag

In Durban a factory has been established that makes the 'Wonderbag'. This is essentially a slow cooker made with eco-friendly insulation and recycled materials. The founder is an activist from South Africa who campaigns on women's quality of life issues and employs local people in the factory. It exports the Wonderbag to areas across the globe. The Wonderbag has recently been named as one of Time Magazine's top 50 Genius Companies of 2018.

Using the Wonderbag means that food can be brought to the boil on an open fire in a few minutes and then immediately put into the slow cooker. This means that the fire can be put out and the food left to cook in its own heat. This has a number of immediate benefits:

  • Women no longer need to sit and watch the cooking, and can get involved in other activities including education and paid work.
  • Much less firewood and water are required, meaning a positive environmental impact and reducing time in collecting both of these, also improving safety as women have to walk to remote areas less frequently.
  • Greatly reduced risk of fire and water accidents, and smoke inhalation.
  • Children involved in these activities will then have the opportunity to go to school instead of helping with domestic chores. The collection of shoes (described below) is also an enabler to help more children to go to school.

Violence against women

Gender violence is a significant problem in southern Africa. Through introduction of the Wonderbag in both Lesotho and Clarens, we will work with the community to help improve the quality of life of local women. We are also going to be involved with an emerging project working with local police who support women suffering from violence in the home. This will be done in partnership with the local community and our partner Africa's Gift.


All school age children in Lesotho have to have uniform in order to take part in schooling. The cost of school shoes in particular is often prohibitive for subsistence farming families. As part of the fundraising for the visit, the student group will collect shoes for the Shoes For Africa scheme which collects donations from the UK and sells school shoes at low cost to families via local traders in Lesotho (in order to help to boost their businesses - free donations put more families out of business), and this helps more children get into school. 


Africa's Gift buys craft and jewellery from local traders in Lesotho and brings them back to the UK for students to sell. This raises money for the visit as well as supporting local craftspeople.

As well as receiving the GoGlobal Fund, participants are also expected to organise their own fundraising events. The idea is that we work as a team to ensure that we raise enough for the whole group to go, and also can buy as many Wonderbags as possible.

Cultural activities

  • Visit a waterfall in Lesotho
  • Optional: Pony trek, hike, bike ride 
  • Optional: Farming activities
  • Human rights teaching opportunities

There is GoGlobal funding available for up to 17 students.

Who is eligible to apply?

The trip is open to all undergraduate and postgraduate students from Sheffield Hallam University.

Travel and accommodation

Outbound: You will fly from Manchester airport to Durban airport
Inbound: You will fly from Johannesburg airport to Manchester airport

The trip is organised by Africa's Gift, a Sheffield based charity that takes young people to Lesotho throughout the year. The charity will arrange the flights, in-country travel and accommodation.

Accommodation is primarily at the Malealea Lodge. Rooms are shared, unless you would like to pay more for your own room.

Visa & vaccinations

You must meet the Lesotho immigration requirements. Please check Lesotho entry requirements for details.

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 90 days from the date of exit from Lesotho. You must have at least 2 blank pages in your passport when you present it at immigration to enter or leave Lesotho.

Please contact the International Experience Team if you require advice.

Estimated total cost of trip per student

Estimated total cost - £2,300
Student contribution - £1,800
GoGlobal Fund - £500

Breakdown of estimated costs:

Cost of travel - £2,300. including flights, accommodation(s) and in-country transport. Breakfasts and most evening meals also included.
Vaccinations - £98 (or free if you do with GP early enough)
Wonderbag - £45

Daily living estimated cost – approx. £15 per day (£210 over 2 weeks - this cost is variable depending on personal needs.)

Once your individual application has been approved by the GoGlobal Fund panel, you will be required to pay a non-refundable student contribution by the following deadline:

  • £100 to be paid by Friday 21 February 2020

Application deadline

Please apply for both the project and GoGlobal funding here, by:

  • 31 January 2020

There is GoGlobal funding available for up to 17 students. Please read the GoGlobal Fund Guidance carefully and note that you are only permitted one GoGlobal grant per academic year.

If you'd like to take part in the project and do not require the GoGlobal Funding, please email the project organiser directly

For more information about this trip please contact Alex Chaggar

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