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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

PCV Profile: Torle

Torle in her kobo and seshoeshoe on our swearing in day.
Torle is another PCV who arrived in Lesotho with me back in June of 2014. She is a vibrant and energetic young woman who calls Utah home but has traveled and lived all over including elsewhere in Africa and Alaska. She has an incredible singing and beat boxing talent and definitely qualifies as the coolest basketball player in Peace Corps Lesotho.

Given her affinity and experience with team sports, it is not surprising that Peace Corps placed her with the Leseli Youth Sports Organization in Teyateyaneng or TY. Leseli Youth Sports works  on youth development by encouraging youth to engage in healthy, active lifestyles. Youth participate through football (soccer for the American readers), basketball, and volleyball teams; although predominantly football. When she arrived at site, she found she had a jam packed schedule from the beginning. Torle found herself coaching multiple youth teams and visiting the many local schools in and around TY.

Torle's counterpart teaching life skills in GRS
After we attended the Grassroot Soccer training last November, she augmented those school visits to include the GRS PC Skillz curriculum, teaching teens life skills and HIV Prevention messages using football drills. Currently, she is in secondary schools three days a week. She also coaches basketball, volleyball, and netball. Netball is a women's sport somewhere similar to basketball but with different rules about passing and traveling, there is no recognizable dribbling that basketball players would identify. She also works with the LBA or Lesotho Basketball Association and teaches a Zumba class for women in her village.

Torle has been working incredibly hard with her counterparts to help them complete an impressively large project for their community. After doing Needs Assessments with the many youth in her organization, they decided to build a multipurpose sports court for youth in the Teyateyaneng area. As Teyateyaneng is one of the larger towns in Lesotho, this court has the possibility to be used by thousands of youth.

Preparation for the new sports court begin.
In the interest of capacity building and empowering the youth she is working with, Torle and her counterpart created a really strong Youth Committee. They visited the seven secondary or high schools in TY and requested the school nominate the three most outstanding students with an interest in sports. These twenty-one youth were then interviewed in English before the group was narrowed down to five girls and five boys. The Youth Committee meets every Friday. They have been working on every detail of the project from the beginning.

The Committee co-wrote the project proposal and donation request letters. The teens then visited area business owners to ask for their involvement. They did a phenomenal job, as they have five large construction and building supply owners donating many materials, the labor, and all equipment for construction of their Multi-purpose Sports Court. This left them to continue fundraising only for four materials and meals for their laborers. They are planning and implementing a number of community events to raise funds to feed their volunteer laborers on workdays. And, with Torle, they have written and been approved for a Peace Corps Partnership Program or PCPP grant. Their PCPP grant is currently active with Peace Corps if you are interested in taking a closer look.

Girls doing a drama as part of GRS.
Torle recently also became the Grassroot Soccer Coordinator for Lesotho. As the coordinator, she helps and supports the PCVs in Lesotho who have been through the GRS training and are doing GRS Interventions. She also serves as the conduit between the GRS staff in Cape Town, the Peace Corps staff in Maseru, and the PCVs in country. It a lot to add onto an already busy woman's shoulders, however, with her passion for youth sports and programming.


A crew clearing the area where the sports court will be.
Torle's many well trained and incredibly motivated GRS Co-Coaches.

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