Maseru, 16 July 2022 (TDI): The US Agency for International Development (USAID) shared how a 23-year-old DREAMS Ambassador, Lerato Tsemane, from Lesotho, lost a family member to COVID-19 and then turned her mourning into motivation to fight the pandemic.

As a DREAMS Ambassador, Tsemane uses the US Government’s Initiative for Global Vaccine Access (GlobalVAX) to help educate her community about the significance of vaccines.

She shared that she was scared after her uncle passed away due to COVID-19. “I had to be vaccinated to safeguard not just myself but also my friends and family,” Tsemane added.

DREAMS program’s efforts to promote COVID-19 vaccination

Tsemane joined the Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-Free, Mentored, and Safe (DREAMS) Program in 2020.

She is among 40 DREAMS Ambassadors in Lesotho who, as part of the Global VAX, have dedicated themselves to spreading awareness about the significance of the COVID-19 vaccination.

Tsemane and her fellow DREAMS Ambassadors are integrating COVID-19 initiatives with successful US Government health programs like US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

USAID and PEPFAR have funded and overseen a five-year initiative, the Reaching Impact, Saturation, and Epidemic Control (RISE) Project, working against the spread of COVID-19. In Lesotho, the project is looking for support from DREAMS ambassadors.

40 DREAMS Ambassadors have finished the training so far and get small financial assistance for the operations outreach. They are now ready to speak about COVID-19 vaccines.

Tsemane and other Ambassadors reach out to peers through road performances organized by RISE and distribute COVID-19 vaccines and HIV interventions in hard-to-reach communities.

Tsemane supports 30 teenage girls and young women each month at these events, who decide to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

DREAMS Ambassadors’ struggle against COVID-19 has helped Lesotho progress in vaccinating its people. Over 56% of the country’s eligible population has received their whole COVID-19 vaccination as of early July 2022.