Blessed is the hand that gives. No one knows this better than Botswana Life employees through their Lesedi Employee Involvement Program. The employees gave the children and volunteers at Gamodubu Child Care Trust in Gamodubu village a Valentine’s Day to remember last week Friday as they donated a food hamper to supplement the children’s daily nutritional demands.
“As Botswana Life we realise that voluntary work begins with individual social responsibility which is why our employees have taken it upon themselves to lend a helping hand and assist those less privileged,” said Botswana Life Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Catherine Lesetedi-Letegele when handing over the hamper.
She said people often look to the government and companies to carry out charitable courses instead of taking the responsibility themselves.
Letegele said charity should not only end with donating food or money. “We all have god given talents which we can also exploit by being hands on and assisting with our respective areas of specialty,” she said.
“These children are our future leaders and if we do not take care of them they will become our burden.”
The CEO said voluntary work also builds one’s own character.
Upon receiving the hamper on behalf of the trust, founder Shirley Madikwe painted a poignant picture of the state of affairs in Gamodubu. “We face very strong challenges here in the village,” she said. “We constantly have to deal with orphans and other children who are either abused or neglected by their parents. As a result cases of teenage pregnancy are prevalent in the village.”
Madikwe cited cases of a young girl aged 12 who became pregnant, and another teen mother who was chased out of her parents’ home after similarly falling pregnant.
“We had to take her in to stay here in the shelter.”
She also shared the story of a young orphan who passed his Junior Certificate Examinations but cannot continue his education because he owes money for books he lost while at junior secondary school.
“I don’t have the money to pay for the books but the school insists he will not get his admission forms until he pays.”
She said efforts to get assistance from the relevant authorities had proved futile.
Madikwe said they were still looking for funds to build hostels for the children, some of who currently sleep in the kitchen at night, as well as buying a minibus to transport children to school.
The trust currently takes care of over 237 children, some of who come from neighboring settlements such as Mmakanke, Mmanoko, and Mmamhiko.
It has a gigantic multipurpose hall built for them by Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL).
Madikwe works with nine other volunteers at the shelter. The village chief Keletso Keletso echoed Madikwe’s statement about the state of the village.
“Some people cannot even afford a single meal a day,” he said.
He said this leads to children scavenging for food at the nearby dumping site.
He also expressed, on behalf of the residents, his gratitude to the Lesedi Employee Involvement Program.