The Botswana Development Corporation officially became the second benefactor of the Francistown Center for the Deaf, after the government of Botswana donated P800 000 worth of (three) classrooms, replete with ablution facilities, to the school in Francistown.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, BDC Board Director, Ida Kanjii, said that the significant project marked yet another milestone in the corporation’s trendsetting corporate social responsibility drive, which is espoused in its commitment to extend moral and financial assistance to deserving organizations.
“We hold charitable and non-profit making organizations, like the Francistown Center for the Deaf, in high regard. Their noble mandate is to provide for the welfare and interest of the deaf population in this country,” Kanjii said.
She added that BDC acknowledges the Francistown Centre for the Deaf’s commendable work in advocating for the rights of the disabled and for having ensured, in the past three decades, that the disabled are empowered through attainment of appropriate skills and general education.
Kanjii also said that, while in the past, societies like the Botswana Society for the Deaf depended solely on the goodwill of churches and international donors, government has lately enhanced its education policy to accommodate children with special needs and provide training for teachers in mainstream schools.
“The challenge, therefore, lies upon the private sector and other members of the community to complement government’s efforts and ensure that the disabled are assimilated as equals in society,” she said.
The Francistown Centre for the Deaf was established in 1988 to cater for the hearing impaired students and produce an academically and vocationally competent deaf citizenry of Botswana through the provision of efficient and sustainable education system. It currently has 94 students who are provided with a wide range of academic studies, from nursery to standard 7.
Lessons are delivered through sign language and total communication.
According to the School Head, the primary school examinations over the last 10 years have been fair, though a lot remains to be done as the school continues to face hardships. However, pupils from the school have performed exceptionally well in areas like sports, drama and other extracurricular activities.
Kanjii reiterated BDC’s commitment to ensuring that institutions like the Francistown Centre for the Deaf continue to enjoy the patronage of the corporate world. She said that BDC’s CSR policy was deliberately made diverse to cater for every deserving member of society.
“We strive to share our limited resources with the needy because, as a national entity, we have a responsibility to give the disabled the same opportunities and encouragement, in terms of education, training and general support,” she said.
BDC has assisted many institutions through its CSR policy.
It has, and continues to support numerous primary and secondary schools by donating computers, printers and photocopiers.
It has also donated P65 000 to the Botswana athletics association for their national cross country competitions.
The Phutlha Dikobo Museum in Mochudi has also received P65 000 from BDC, while the Serowe-based Central Association for the Disabled and the Blind was given P42 000 for their horticultural project.
BDC also has a long standing relationship with Junior Achievement Botswana, as they give them an annual donation of P30 000 for their northern region competitions and P45 000 for their national competitions.
The corporation has also contributed to the Presidents Day celebrations by awarding a P90 000 prize for the national baskets competition.