Monday, June 24, 2024

A Charity Marathon to Transform Lives

Of late, Botswana has been witnessing a rise in marathons. Hugely sponsored by corporate Botswana, almost all of these marathons claim to be for a good cause.

Among these however, one marathon really stands out as one for a really ‘good cause.’ On the 16th of September, long distance runners will gather in Ramotswa for the inaugural Thuto Boswa Charity Half Marathon.

Organised by Thuto- Boswa Rehabilitation Centre (TBRC) in association with Ramotswa Athletics Club (RAC), the marathons seek to give learners with disabilities a better run in life. It seeks to raise funds to provide people with disabilities a well-equipped learning centre where they can get life skills.

TRBC provides vocational training and rehabilitation services and also promotes the wellbeing of young people living with disabilities. The centre’s executive director, Gosego Mmeanyana, says the idea behind the charity marathon ‘is to address the challenges the centre is currently faced with.

Through the marathon, organisers are hoping to raise funds for development projects at TRBC’s premises. These include ‘borehole drilling and equipping at the centre’s new farm, removing accessibility barriers by addressing the rocks in the current premises and increasing technology use for learning in the Centre’. 

Organisers are hopeful that by bringing professional, social runners, supporters and other stakeholders to the marathon, the needs of people with disabilities will be brought to light. They are also hopeful it will promote inclusion of people with disabilities in sport. 

“We want to ensure the continuity of quality service to learners with disability and to continue developing as the world progresses. This calls for more efforts on NGOs like Thuto-Boswa who depend on donors to come up with strategies and activities to assist in augmenting current financial support,” Mmeanyana explains.

However, the marathon is facing hurdles. Unlike with the other marathons, not many from corporate Botswana seem keen to come to the party.

Despite knocking on doors of several corporates numerous times, the marathon is yet to get desired financial support it needs to be a success. Only a few are keen to open their purses for a good cause. The majority have chosen to become misers unwilling to help those in misery.

With September 16th fast approaching, Mmeanyana admits they are running against time. With each passing day and each incoming rejection from the corporate world, the centre may not realise its dreams of creating a good space to empower People Living with Disabilities (PLWDs). 

As for now, the organisers will be hoping Corporate Botswana and the nation will heed the words uttered by the Minister of Minerals and Energy, Lefoko Moagi during the launch of the marathon. At the launch, he pleaded with all stakeholders to take a stand to ensure PLWDs are given equal opportunity.

Moagi, who is also a Member of Parliament for Ramotswa advised that the ‘empowerment of PLWDs should not only be of concern to their families but should also be that of the entire nation.’ 

“The reality though, is that resources are never enough to reach these dreams in short space of time. Under these circumstances, it is required that Non-Governmental Organisation (NGOs) should also seek ways of generating resources for development through partnerships with the private sector and other stakeholders for both funding and strategic partnerships,” Moagi said.

“I believe this is the reason why the Centre came up with this ambitious activity of bringing Batswana who are professional and social runners to Ramotswa, as a way of fundraising for its envisaged projects. This is not only a way of bringing monetary benefits to the Centre but for anyone to come and appreciate what they do and how anyone can contribute to making it bigger, better, sustainable and of high quality,” he added.  

For his part, RAC chairperson Harold Mosomane says when they agreed to join hands with TRBC, they did not want PLWDs to be left behind. “PLWD are no different from us. They have needs just as us and they have talent as well, which needs to be nurtured,” he says.

“We believe in equality, hence students in Thuto-Boswa are part of us and we encourage others across Botswana to open their hands and include PLWDs. Let us help them see that they are no different than us,” Mosomane pleads.

But whether or not corporate Botswana and the nation will come on board, only time will tell. And it is already ticking!

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