I joined rise in October 2018 as a volunteer working on the rise in the city competition for affordable housing.

This was a very exciting experience, given my urban planning background. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined I’d be working for rise full time, let alone as the project coordinator. Clearly Daniela saw something in me that I myself wasn’t aware of yet. In early January 2019 when she made me the offer I thought to myself ‘this lady is absolutely insane, but I like it!’

From left to right: Daniela, Alice (Rei’s Mum) and Rei

 Fast forward 8 months and I am in absolute awe of what I have managed to achieve under her guidance and leadership. The international exposure is insaaaannneee! I met with  the Portuguese Ambassador & so amazing professionals during the rise in the city competition for affordable housing, like Mphethi Morojele, Nadia Tromp, & Sam Oboh. This competition is a stepping stone for Lesotho with affordable housing; an issue that has been prevalent for quite a while.
 This gave way to a participatory design workshop in April with 16 low income families. This was a touching, eye- opening experience. These hard working men & women support their families,send their kids to school & still manage to put food on the table all with a salary of less than M2,000. Being part of a solution to provide them with adequate housing within their means is an experience I’ll carry with me always.

Participatory Design Workshop for Social Housing

Then came my favourite part of my experience. The recruitment of the 2019 cohort of in loco fellows. I gave presentations at Lerotholi Polytechnic, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology and LOIC. I had numerous meetings with the faculty heads of all these schools as well as the Lesotho Agricultural College & IDM, the President of the Nul Planners Association & the HOD of the Geography department who were all of great help with spreading the word. In the end we received 97 applications!

 The highlight has to be the reaction on people’s faces when you give them hope that their country isn’t completely a lost cause. Knowing that I gave the unemployed youth in Lesotho hope gives me immense satisfaction. 

I hosted 3 film screenings and 4 lecture series events, that we host on monthly basis. This was great public speaking practice for me. In the end I got really good at it! I have been on TV twice and radio countless times. I have met numerous international professionals, & attended countless meetings with government officials of different ministries.

This has been nothing short of life changing. I have realised capabilities about myself I didn’t know I possessed. Reitumetse now and Reitumetse 8 months are 2 completely different person. I loooovvee the young woman I have become having worked at rise.

To Daniela and the team: Thank you for believing in me and providing a platform to unleash my potential. Words can’t describe my gratitude. rise is on the verge of achieving amazing things. I can only hope I’ll be able to keep up upon my return in 2 years once I’ve finished my Masters in India!

This isn’t goodbye but rather see you soon.

Rei on her flight to India