|Youth delegate Tsholofelo Selufaro of Botswana on a panel at the 51st Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in March 2007.|
By Blue Chevigny
NEW YORK, USA, 10 August 2007 – Tsholofelo Selufaro, 18, is excited to be behind a microphone and takes every opportunity to interview members of her community on such topics as poverty, girls’ rights and HIV/AIDS prevention.
Over the past few months, she started recording interviews for the Digital Diaries project of Voices of Youth (UNICEF’s online community for young people) and UNICEF Radio.
Tsholo is a student at the University of Botswana and lives in the southern African nation’s capital, Gabarone. She received radio equipment and skills training at UNICEF’s New York headquarters in March, when she attended the 51st Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women as a Botswanan delegate.
In the first instalment of her Digital Diary, she speaks with a successful local musician, Tshepiso Molapisi (stage name ‘Kast’), who has just started a charitable organization called the Kast Foundation to help alleviate poverty in Botswana.
|Tsholofelo Selufaro meets with UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman in New York.|
‘The change you want to see’
Tsholo introduces Kast and tells him he’s very inspiring. “As a young person, you believe in the idea that you should be the change that you want to see in the world,” she says, and then asks: “What prompted you to start a foundation?”
“I got inspired to make an impact in lives, touch people’s lives,” Kast replies. “I conceptualized a foundation that has as its objective to fight socio-economic differences, help the economically disadvantaged, help with health problems. And to build the spirit of philanthropy in the country, the region and throughout the world.”
One of the foundation’s main initiatives, ‘A Million for Charity’, aims to raise $1 million to reduce economic disparities in Botswana. The effort focuses especially on people in rural areas, who Kast says are sometimes overlooked by urban charities.
“You’re not a millionaire, right?” jokes Tsholo. “But you’re trying to raise a million – wow!”
“There’s a saying that you shouldn’t judge a man’s wealth by how much money he has, but by how much money he can give,” Kast says. “That inspires me a lot. I want to mobilize people who have that money. There’s a lot of money in the world. It’s just a matter of distribution.”
Young and determined
Tsholo is amazed by the selfless direction of Kast’s energies. “As young people, we want to grow up, get rich, get a new car, live in a big house, but it’s people like you that really move us,” she tells him. “You’re out there being generous. Is there some experience in your past that got you into this?”
“I was raised by a single mom,” Kast answers. “She always taught me that everyone’s business is mine as far as welfare is concerned. I should be concerned about my neighbour’s welfare, about someone’s welfare that I don’t even know. I’ve been around the country and seen people who don’t have the things that we take for granted. It’s painful to see.”
“This is truly what we need for this country – young, determined people,” Tsholo says. “This is a determined young man, but he’s also a typical young person.”
Asked to offer final thoughts, Kast declares: “As a musician and an artist … you’re hoping what you do moves people, shakes people. Within everyone there’s so much untapped potential, you know? We all need to tap into that and we can make the world a so-much-better place to live in. Each and every person can change the world.”
31 July 2007:
UNICEF Radio and Voices of Youth Digital Diarist Tsholofelo Selufaro, 18, speaks with the young founder of the Kast Foundation in Botswana.