The Beautiful Gate Lesotho care centre for abandoned and HIV/AIDS-affected children, located in Maseru, Lesotho, first opened its doors in 2001. Initially it began as Little Feet Ministry but later came under the umbrella of Beautiful Gate Ministry International, a ministry reaching out to children in need throughout Africa. This ministry was started as a calling from God by its founders, Ray and Sue Haakonsen, to reach out to "the least of these". Many of the children who have come into the care centre have been neglected, abused, or abandoned and would have died without intervention. It continues to be our desire to provide a high quality of care, play, therapy and nurturing love to these vulnerable children.
As of the end of 2011, Beautiful Gate Lesotho has cared for over 300 babies, facilitated more than 100 adoptions both internationally and locally (with more in process), have returned over 50 children to families and have laid to rest over 30 children, mainly due to complications from HIV/AIDS. We work closely with hospitals in the area and with local police, who often discover abandoned children, as well as the Lesotho Departments of Social Welfare and Health.
In August 2004, after moving to 3 different houses during the years, a building program was begun in the Ha Thetsane area of Maseru. A chapel was the first completed building and was followed by residential houses for the children. Currently there are 14 buildings at our centre, thanks to many generous donors worldwide. In 2011, a new building was added to the property which will be used as volunteer housing and as a play area for the children. A continued desire is to see an additional building added to accommodate large groups of volunteers, such as church or student teams from around the world. All our buildings were created to facilitate a safe, clean, attractive and stimulating environment for the children to enjoy whilst they are with us.
Beautiful Gate Lesotho continues to focus on providing residential and hospice care for infants and children under the age of 6, many of whom have been abandoned. Our intention is to care for them whilst in residence but looking to place as many of these babies into extended or adoptive families. We have capacity for at least 60 children in our care centre.
One important program we have had on site is the Little Feet Pre-School program, which first opened its doors in 2007. It has provided a Christ-centred education for our children and others in the community who were unable to afford a pre-school program. Sadly, we closed the program at the end of 2011 due to financial and strategic issues. We are grateful that the Sefate sa Bophelo English Medium School, located directly across from Beautiful Gate, has agreed to rent our preschool building and will continue to use this facility for their own pre-school program. This school is under the supervision of the AFM Church (Apostolic Faith Mission) and will provide a high-quality, Christ-centred education program for our Beautiful Gate children along with others from the surrounding community.
Beautiful Gate Lesotho also desires to provide support to the local community and continues to look for ways to design and implement outreach programs that will help address the issues of poverty, HIV/AIDS, and other factors that affect the Basotho people. Life is challenging in Lesotho and our desire is to see how we can show God’s love and compassion for those surrounding our campus in practical ways.
As a non-profit organisation we are reliant on the donations from churches, businesses, funding organisations and individuals to help us meet the challenges we face. We have been amazed at the support we have received over time and continue to hope and pray for partners to come alongside us in these tough economic times that have affected us as well.