Not everybody who has a disability can afford to pay to private hospital fees. Providing assistance to those with a disability is the primary objective of the Cheshire Foundation.
Billy Masebola, the Executive Director at the Cheshire Foundation explained, “The fact that we provide a free service results in our foundation receiving a lot of people,” said Billy Masebola, the Executive Director at the Cheshire Foundation. “We have people who come to our foundation even when they are not disabled, maybe because they had a car accident and have no money to visit private doctors. The demand for service is now extremely high; we are now like a hospital.”
Masebola stated that fewer Batswana are educated in special health fields, which include speech therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy. The Foundation has a responsibility of recruiting doctors from abroad and that involves a lot of funds from the Foundation as it is a non-governmental organisation.
Worse still, Batswana doctors who have trained in specialised fields leave the Foundation to seek greener pastures, if not well paid.
Based in Mogoditshane, the Cheshire Foundation is a non-profit making organisation providing free rehabilitation services to disabled and non-disabled persons. Their services range from different kinds of therapies to running a day care centre for severely disabled children.
“Though not enough, our government is trying by all means to provide with annual grants to keep our foundation running,” said Masebola.
He said they have a new program called ‘Inclusive Education’ for the children.
“A Memorandum of Agreement was signed with the Ministry of Education concerning the acceptance of disabled children in government schools so that they learn the same material as others,” he said.
“I recently took a trip to England and one company there gave us a grant for inclusive education.
We have since adopted eight government schools in Botswana where disabled children are fully absorbed. Some of them are model schools, meaning that they are fully designed for the disabled children. The toilets, playground and classrooms have been designed to accommodate the children.”
In order to continue raising funds for the foundation, Masebola stated that their annual event of bringing circuses to Botswana will run from the 16-25th September this year.