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Athabasca University students gain hands-on learning experiences in Lesotho

Nine students from Canadian research university are working in Lesotho thanks to collaboration with rise International

Morija, Lesotho (Nov. 9, 2023)—Nine students from Athabasca University (AU) are working in Lesotho on a variety of projects in collaboration with Relationships Inspiring Social Enterprise (rise) International.

The group includes students of AU’s Architecture, Heritage Resources Management, and Computing and Information Systems programs. The interdisciplinary group of learners is in Lesotho from Nov. 4 to 16, on a trip funded by the Global Skills Opportunity program of Universities Canada.

“Athabasca University wishes to express its appreciation to the people and land of Lesotho for welcoming us as we embark on a remarkable journey through a multi-disciplinary partnership with the non-profit rise,” said Veronica Madonna, project director.

This partnership is immersing students in new cultural contexts, fostering innovation and essential cross-cultural skills, while enhancing leadership abilities and creating an international support network grounded in local Indigenous values and community-based practices. 

Partnership creates valuable educational experiences

While in Lesotho, students are visiting the communities of Morija, Thaba Bosiu, Ramabanta, Semonkong, Roma, and Maseru to learn about the Mountain Kingdom’s heritage, architecture, and technical opportunities.

The students are working with Limkokwing University of Creative Technology as well as rise’s in loco fellows and pioneers learning how to facilitate a participatory design workshop. They will also participate in a design and build workshop using Indigenous materials such as earthen bricks.

Additionally, the Heritage and Computer Science students are collaborating with students from Botho University, the National University of Lesotho as well as the Morija Museum and Archives, the Seriti Sa Makhoarane Heritage and Tourism Project, The Hub, and the Morija Arts Centre.

Lastly, the students are interacting with Basotho artists, musicians, dancers, participating in a drumming circle as well as visiting some of Lesotho’s successful social enterprises, including Pheha Plastic, Noma Pads, Kick4Life, and Alliance Française.

“We are thrilled to begin this partnership and look forward to the valuable educational experiences and enduring relationships it will foster,” said Madonna.

This visit is part of a two-year program funded by Global Skill Opportunity, which will also includes another group of up to 15 students travelling to Lesotho in 2024.

About Athabasca University

Athabasca University (AU) is one of the world's foremost and fastest-growing online and open education institutions, serving over 38,000 students across 81 countries. AU is the second-largest university in Alberta. AU offers online bachelors, masters, and doctorate programs alongside online courses for both personal learning and professional development. It is uniquely founded on the principles of flexibility and openness, giving students control over their studies so they can learn whenever and wherever it is right for them. For more information, please visit:

About rise

Relationships Inspiring Social Enterprise (rise) is a registered non-profit social enterprise established in 2016 led by Founder and Executive Director Daniela Gusman. rise provides local entrepreneurs with resources, knowledge, and the professional community needed to be successful and transformational in their communities. rise links aspiring social entrepreneurs in vulnerable, low-income sub-Saharan African countries to essential resources they would otherwise not have access to. Please visit:

For more information:

Bryan Alary, Manager of Content and Media Relations
Athabasca University

Veronica Madonna,
Project Director and Assistant Professor,
Centre for Architecture, Athabasca University

Chris Theko
Communications Coordinator
Relationships Inspiring Social Enterprise (rise)
+266 6292 4052

Daniela Gusman
Founder and Executive Director
Relationships Inspiring Social Enterprise (rise)
WhatsApp: +1 954 296 9889
Currently working from Lesotho: +266 5946 0734

Updated November 09, 2023 by Digital & Web Operations (