Robert Bernstein

When I am asked: "So, what do you do?" I respond: "I am an NGO officer, journalist, photographer, writer & editor." This has evolved into my advising NGO's based in Africa & the Caribbean on raising their profile & visibility.

For almost 30 years I served the children of New York City as an educator. Looking back, they educated me probably as much as I taught them.

My work in journalism has taken me to many places - the underground hip hop scene of Brooklyn, New York, Kingston, Jamaica and Seward, Alaska. I have maintained a lifelong interest in international affairs, cultures and economics.

My body of work encompasses the areas of development, education, governance, sustainability and technology. In addition, I support the United Nations Charter & Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

As someone who is involved in strategizing for the future, I have two solid beliefs:

  • Education is ongoing and essential to self improvement.
  • Past experience is invaluable in the decision making process.

The world we want tomorrow is based on our current behavior - we must always consider the consequences of our actions.

Many children of Lesotho cannot get access to good education, especially if they are living on the street.
Our heart goes out to them. As international students ourselves, we saw a need, and we have a way to help.

While in Lesotho, we gave motivational and educational talks to all the children about the rewards and challenges of coming from another country and thriving in a foreign school.
It was so fun telling them about culture shock. Their eyes widened when we talked about our class with a deaf professor, and about how calling 911 works in America (not exactly like the movies!).
We also explained the process of going to school in a foreign country. They had no idea that beyond saying ‘I want to go to school in America,’ there were more choices to make! We clarified that there are different states in the U.S., and that there are multiple colleges to consider in each state.

But the biggest message we wanted to convey: “Your dreams are possible, and the opportunities are out there”. Hopefully, the message stuck, and we can return next time to make sure it does. 


In the Future:
We want to make academic opportunities for the children of Lesotho more accessible. This means making an easier path for the young adults to get to college. Having attended two American universities ourselves, we are definitely aware of the process.
Our goal is to start a college-search program where we help the teenagers through the college selection process, through getting scholarships, and through Visa paperwork. A simple guiding hand can make literally a world of difference.

For the younger kids, other than swimming lessons, we can teach them simple things about computers. Eventually we want to have a computer lab, so they can learn how computers work, and how to research things. Skills like these will be a big help in their adult lives, especially if they head to another country for school.
If we can uplift the younger generation into higher education, then when they come back to Lesotho, there is no telling to how they can give back to the community. Encouraging this process of learning is one of our biggest goals at Swim For Life Lesotho. With enough support, dedication, and passion, we can make this happen.