UNICEF visits partners in Maun
Botswana, Gaborone, 7 March 2011: United Nations Children’s Fund Representative in Botswana, Dr. Doreen Mulenga, recently visited civil society partners providing support to children in Maun. These included Bana Ba Letsatsi Sunshine Children (BBL), Motse Wa Tsholofelo (MWT) as well Women Against Rape (WAR).
The visit was intended to familiarise herself with the situation of children cared for at the three centres, the progress that the centres have made and the challenges they face.
Bana Ba Letsatsi Sunshine Children
BBL was established in 2004 and currently supports over 250 vulnerable, at-risk and orphaned children and youths. In a discussion with Dr Mulenga, BBL coordinator Fiona Hatton explained that she and her colleagues work round the clock to keep children in Maun off the streets and away from negative influences by empowering them through education and support.
The children are identified by BBL Counsellors with the help of social workers. They seek consent of parents or guardians before taking a child on board.
“Our day at BBL starts with picking up children from their bases to the centre for a bath and breakfast and then dropping some at school. When school is out we pick them up again for lunch and some afternoon activities which are usually arts and culture exercises and horticulture” shared Hatton.
Hatton also explained that they also provide children with counselling and good grooming.
Dr Mulenga asked what the challenges of BBL are and if any orphan or vulnerable child was ever left behind when identifying children, “Transport and accessibility of the children. We only have one hired minibus which fails to reach, pick and drop every child”, responded Hatton.
Finance ultimately becomes the bigger constraint in achieving the goals of BBL. According to Hatton, “sometimes the meals are cut or compromised nutritionally due to lack of funds to maintain proper feeding for children”.
Moreover, other constraints that face BLL include some parents or guardians who do not show interest in the care for their children while at the centre. “HIV/AIDS related complications, rape and the lack of especially dedicated nurse or doctor at the centre results in delayed and often inadequate medical help from government health facilities are other factors that make our job here painful”, lamented Hatton.
However, Hatton face lit when she spoke about 25 young men and women who used to attend BBL who are now old enough are working at Safari companies and some homes.
Motse wa Tsholofelo
MWT is a pre-school centre for orphans and vulnerable children that is run by Botswana Christian AIDS Intervention Programme (BOCAIP). MWT was founded in 2000 and currently has 52 children who are picked and dropped from their homes every morning and afternoon.
They transport children with a minibus that was donated by Gaborone Rotary Club few years ago. Some of the challenges that the centre faces includes lack of enough funding to provide proper meals and care for children.
Teacher Tsalano Motlhasedi shared that despite the constraints they face on a daily basis they still manage to graduate children to primary school. “When we started in 2000 we produced 9 graduates and last year we produced 26”.
Women Against Rape
Women Against Rape is a human rights organisation that supports abused women and children. The Development Officer of WAR, Mpho Mahopolo, cited donor dependency, human resource shortage, clashes of culture and project implementation as some of the constraints that limit their work.