Refiloehape Sesinyi

2023 Fellow from Lesotho

Refiloehape “Fifi” Sesinyi, is an advocate for gender equality and disability rights in Lesotho. She has seven years of experience in community development and advocacy.  Her own experiences as a blind woman raised in a poor rural community, who often faced discrimination in society, influenced her career path. Fifi has dedicated her life to being a support system and a voice for marginalized communities, particularly focusing on issues pertaining to gender and disabilities. She provides career guidance, mentoring and psycho-social support to persons with disabilities, particularly, boys and girls, as well as pregnant women and young mothers. Her engagement in voluntary community development initiatives has been driven by the aim to empower the most marginalized in the community to pursue their aspirations.  

Fifi collaborates with other professionals and activists from diverse backgrounds to mobilize essential resources, including learning materials, sanitary towels, clothing, food and seeds, which they donate to the target population.  She also raises awareness on critical issues affecting women and persons with disabilities through radio broadcasts and advocacy campaigns. Also, she is the founder and secretary general of the Unique Voices Network, a platform dedicated to amplifying the voices of those often marginalized in society, as well as embracing diverse perspectives.  Fifi holds degrees in Social Work and Gender Studies from the National University of Lesotho and the University of the Free State in South Africa respectively. Her dedication to academic excellence and social justice has earned her membership in the Golden Key International Honor Society and recognition as a Canon Collins Scholar. She further serves the Vodacom Lesotho Foundation as the Access and Inclusion Coordinator.  

While participating in the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she was hosted by Michigan State University, and further completed her community service at Peckham, a non-profit organization that serves individuals with various forms of disabilities.  Fifi further had an opportunity to participate in the Professional Development Experience at the Austin Lighthouse for the blind and visually impaired. This exposed her to various assistive technologies, orientation and mobility, independent living, chain supply, as well as American sign language. Further, while participating in YALI RLC-SA program, she completed her community service at The Other Foundation, an organization that deals with issues affecting the LGBTQI+ community. In every endeavor, Fifi stresses the value of resilience, determination, and the transformative impact of individual efforts in creating a more inclusive society for all.   

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