What the Trust Does
Is it really necessary for outsiders to support facilities like Paballong in Lesotho? Why isn’t the Lesotho government providing all the support? Lesotho is a poor country, and its government cannot afford to provide all the health facilities that it would like to. Like many governments, the government of Lesotho has had to cut spending due to current international economic conditions. It does provide some support to Paballong and has promised more, although this has not materialised as quickly as was hoped. Inevitably, Paballong will have to depend largely on outside support for the foreseeable future.
Is the Lesotho government doing anything to support Paballong? The government currently funds the salary of one nurse at the Centre and provides the HIV testing kits and drugs that HIV-positive clients need. The government hospital laboratories provide for TB and CD4 count testing of samples collected at Paballong. Paballong Centre staff attend government training courses.
How much of the money I give to the Paballong UK Trust will be used on administration, and how much will be received by the Paballong Centre in Lesotho? Virtually all the money that you give will be sent to the Paballong Centre in Lesotho. The UK Trustees are volunteers and pay for normal administration expenses out of their own pockets. If they incur exceptional expenses, for example a long rail journey to give a talk or meet a possible donor, they may claim the cost from the Trust’s funds.
How much of my contribution will go towards paying utility bills (like electricity and water) at the Centre? Little or nothing. The Centre uses solar electricity for all purposes, including pumping water from its own borehole. It does buy some gas for heating, but uses a biogas digester to make gas for cooking.
Paballong seems like a good cause, but how exactly will you use any money I might give you? We will transfer your money to the Paballong Trust in Lesotho for use on various small and large expenses, in consultation between them and the UK Trust. Please see What Your donation Can Pay For for examples of what donations of different sizes can pay for. In some cases, we may agree with the Trust in Lesotho to transfer a sum for a specific project such as a new building or item of equipment, or the salary of a specific staff member. All these expenditures will be itemised in the annual report and accounts of the Paballong UK Trust.
Is some of the Paballong Centre’s budget in Lesotho used to pay the local trustees there? No. The Trustees in Lesotho are volunteers.
What audits or other evidence are there to show that the Paballong Centre uses its funds honestly and responsibly? The audited accounts of the Centre are summarised in its annual reports, which also describe the way in which the Centre works and uses its resources.
What will happen to the Centre if it can’t raise enough money to keep going? In the unhappy event that the Centre runs out of money, it would have to close. The Paballong Trustees in Lesotho would probably try to keep the property in a sound condition so that it could restart operations if and when new funding was secured.
What would happen to the clients if the Centre had to close? Are there other places nearby where they can go for help? If the Paballong Centre had to close, people in its catchment area would have to make longer and more expensive journeys to seek treatment at overcrowded facilities in Maseru or Teyateyaneng. Paballong has met a much felt need for its specialist services and also for other medical support across the Berea Plateau and beyond. The weekly Outreach programmes to the villages and institutions in the catchment area would be discontinued. Outreach programmes include follow-up of clients at their homes; support to their caregivers, to Village Support Groups and Village Health Workers; and awareness raising in the villages and at schools.
The Paballong Centre looks like a good idea, but how much difference is it really making to people affected by HIV and AIDS? Surely it’s just a drop in the ocean? Certainly Paballong’s contribution is small compared to the huge need across Lesotho – but every little contribution makes a genuine difference – as any individual HIV positive person able to live a healthy life because of the Centre’s support would tell you.
If I support the Paballong Centre, will you keep me informed about work and progress there? Yes. We aim to send regular updates to all supporters for whom we have an e-mail address.
If I support the Paballong Centre, will you constantly be asking me for more money? No. But we will keep you informed about activities and needs at the Centre, in case you feel willing and able to provide further help.
If I give you my e-mail address, will you give or sell it to other charities or to commercial advertisers? No. We will retain your address for use by the Paballong UK Trust only.
What is Paballong doing to promote more responsible sexual behaviour that would slow the spread of HIV? The Lesotho Ministry of Health and other agencies run major campaigns promoting safe and responsible sexual behaviour. Paballong does not have the resources to run its own publicity campaigns, but these themes are a major part of the advice and counselling that people visiting the Centre receive. Free condoms are available at the Centre and during counselling sessions, as well as organised events at the nearby school, and the staff promote safe sex. The Centre also holds increasingly popular events linked to World AIDS Day.
Many children are orphaned when their parents die of AIDS. What does Paballong do to help them? Paballong is not an orphanage. Most AIDS orphans are cared for by grandparents or other relatives. Although the Centre is not able to give direct support to orphans, it does advise Village Support Groups which in turn assist those caring for orphans as well as those looking after people with AIDS. One of Paballong’s aims – when funding permits – is to build a day care centre for orphans and vulnerable children aged between two and six (see page 13 of the 2010 Annual Report).
What other international support does the Paballong Centre receive? All international support is acknowledged in the Centre’s annual reports – see, for example, page 14 of the 2010 Annual Report). The biggest donors in 2010 and 2011 have been the Netherlands Lesotho Foundation and the Aqualia Foundation.
There are some huge international organisations and funds helping in the fight against HIV and AIDS, such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Clinton Foundation, and UNAIDS. Surely these can provide all the support the Paballong Centre needs? The Paballong Lesotho Trustees had certainly hoped to be able to secure support from these big international organisations. But so far this has not proved possible – mainly because most such agencies only fund the activities of governments or large international NGOs, and remain largely inaccessible to smaller organisations like Paballong.