Debswana, DTCB and De Beers Global Sightholder Sales – exists to make Batswana’s dreams turn into lasting realities; through pulling together and showing that they care. In partnership with the Ministry of Education and Skills Development, the Group of Companies have designed a six-month programme to rehabilitate and empower the survivors of the 2015 Matsha College tragic road accident that claimed the lives of eight pupils and left many others injured.
The bespoke joint initiative, titled Matsha Skills Development Programme, focuses on healing, rehabilitation, skills development and character building. Throughout the programme the participants will engage in various creative and constructive activities which are expected to develop and reinforce qualities such as self-confidence, self-reliance, accountability and discipline. The ultimate goal being to better prepare the participants for the next stage of their lives, whether it is tertiary education, employment or entrepreneurial ventures.
The Matsha Skills Development Programme commenced on the 26th January 2016 and will run until the 30th June 2016. The first phase of the programme was to facilitate psycho-social support and life skills administered by the Ministry of Education, and the second phase is to facilitate a skills development programme administered by De Beers Group of Companies
When addressing the media at a press brief on the 8th April 2016, the Executive Vice President of De Beers, Paul Rowley said, “In the wake of the tragic accident that befell a group of students returning home at the end of their secondary school careers, we as the De Beers Group of Companies, like many of you, were moved to reach out to these young people in some meaningful way; to reassure that while we could not undo what had befallen them, we could and wanted to be a part of their healing.”
Following the tragedy, De Beers Group of Companies staff pulled together to raise funds, they visited the students in hospital and their staff consultative council, together with senior management, sat to explore how they could be part of influencing an empowered future for those affected.
“De Beers have a long history of partnership with Botswana. It is therefore through this lens that we embraced the opportunity to collaborate with the Ministry of Education and Skills Development in designing and delivering a skills development programme for the former Matsha students,” added Paul. “We hope that the programme will not only make a difference to the survivors, but also provide a model which can be replicated both in Botswana and beyond, to support vulnerable young people to make the most of the opportunities in their lives.”
This partnership has already led to the resounding success of the inaugural Ideas, Products, Services and Partners Conference. The parties have once again agreed to partner, and the programme has been designed as a medium to long-term solution that can assist the survivors of the Matsha College tragic truck accident to get their lives back, building on the psycho-social support and medical assistance they are currently receiving from the government.
Debswana, DTCB and De Beers Sightholder Sales’ core principles are underlined by the desire to see all Batswana prosper and they believe that no one should be denied the opportunity to achieve their dreams because of unfortunate circumstances such as this.
“We believe that by renewing hope and building lifelong skills in our future leaders we are creating a lasting legacy of growth and strength for the communities in which we operate in…We are living up to diamonds,” concluded Paul. “Without a doubt, we are here to celebrate a new beginning for those who survived, but we must by the same token take a moment to remember those who succumbed to their injuries and to those they left behind. We cannot undo what befell the students, but we can pull together to give these students a fighting chance as they go onto the next stage of their lives.”