The five founding Members and Trustees of the charity were all closely involved in the Paballong HIV/AIDS Care Centre since its establishment, either providing direct or indirect financial resources and advice, or giving their time, for example through an intern placement. Towards the end of 2017 one of our founding Trustees, Frieda McAlear, decided that her personal commitments meant she had to step aside. We are deeply indebted to Frieda for her unwavering support to Paballong, both in UK and more importantly in Lesotho. In 2013 she self-funded a visit to the Centre, from her home base in California, to undertake a customer satisfaction survey which provided invaluable insights into how Paballong was viewed by the local community. In 2018 we were delighted when Nicolette Craig became a Trustee, and remain wholly committed to ensure that the positive effects the Centre has had on its clients and their families continue to grow, and that Paballong's future is secured in the long term.
Stephen Turner - Chair
I first arrived to live in Lesotho at the age of ten and have been much involved with the country ever since. Now based in the UK, I make frequent visits for consulting work on socio-economic and development issues. Over the last 25 years I have seen the adverse effects of HIV/AIDS gradually spread and deepen across Lesotho – weakening society, damaging the economy and causing personal tragedy in countless lives, including those of my friends and colleagues. I have also been inspired by the work of those devoted to helping those who are infected and affected by the pandemic. I am concerned to do all I can to help the people, like those at the Paballong Centre, who have dedicated themselves to this vital work.
I first became aware of the work of Paballong when working with Diana at a charity for children affected by HIV and AIDS in Zambia. I now work as an Education Coordinator at a Wildlife Park, but when asked if I would become a trustee I was very keen to help. Having travelled fairly extensively through Africa when younger I have seen first-hand the impact that even the smallest measures can make to families there. The Paballong UK Trust provides the perfect example of this: from uniforms and Christmas clothing gifts, through to solar batteries and irrigation systems. I am proud to be part of an organisation which makes such a difference and will endeavour to put my experience of education systems and communications to good use.
Diana Webster - Secretary
I have worked in international development since 1986, primarily with the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). In 2002 I was posted to Lesotho, where I worked for DFID until 2006. What was evident from the start of my tour was the devastating impact which HIV and AIDS were having on the country and its people. When my neice, Cara, returned from her travels we discussed lots of ways we could help the increasingly problematic situation in Lesotho. We thought the best way to do this was to set up a UK-based charity which could raise funds in the UK and send them directly to the Centre.
In 1960, five years after graduating from Cambridge, and travelling north from Cape Town, I had a chance meeting with the artist Terence McCaw . He urged me to accept the key of his rondavel in Teyateyaneng and I made the detour into Basutoland. Keeping a weather eye open for an opportunity to return, I obtained, in 1962, a one-year contract (funded by Oxfam) as an Assistant in the Department of Agriculture and was stationed in Leribe. Many years later I read a graphic account in The Times of the HIV/AIDS pandemic ravaging the country. This lead to a personal visit to Maseru in 2002 and introduction from the British High Commission to Gerard Mathot, the initiator and prime mover of the Paballong Project. In Gerard I recognised an inspirational and dedicated man-of-action with an intimate knowledge of the country. I became an immediate supporter.
I graduated from university in 2013 having studied Anthropology and am just starting a career in event management. But beforehand I took a year out and went travelling, spending some of my time at the Paballong Centre in Lesotho. I volunteered in the pharmacy and helped out in general. During this time I was able to see first hand how the Centre was helping people; I also got to know the people working there all year round. My experience at the Centre was life-changing and, once back in the UK, I realised that I was in a unique position to try and help. I became a Trustee as I am committed to doing all I can to ensure the Centre stays open and provides essential care to those living in the surrounding communities.