Last week, Debswana’s Orapa Letlhakane and Damtshaa Mine (OLDM) employees from the Completely Automated Recovery Plant (CARP) department handed over a house to, Banyaditsemang Modumedi an under-priviledged woman in Mokoboxane village in the Boteti Sub district. The gesture was part of Debswana’s Corporate Social Investment (CSI) programme.
Debswana’s CSI programme was started in 2006 to replace the then Debswana Donation fund. The aim of this programme is among others; to mobilize Debswana employees to work in partnership with the community to define, develop and implement community projects, to encourage and promote the spirit of self-reliance, ownership and social responsibility and to assist the underprivileged.
Giving an overview of the project, the Strategy and BI Manager at Debswana, Kgolagano Banabotlhe said that a few years ago CARP peer educators encountered with the beneficiary, Modumedi while working with the home based care support group in Mokoboxane village. He said that her situation at the time really touched them as she did not have a proper shelter.
“Moved by our company value of “Show we care” and enjoined by the vision 2016 pillar of “A Compassionate, just and caring nation” we felt obliged to help. The team started helping her with food and clothes. They also committed to providing her with shelter,” he explained.
Banabotlhe said that at the time she (Modumedi) was living with her mother far from the clinic where she was receiving help. He said that the team discovered that she had a plot which is closer to the clinic. He said that the only form of shelter which was there in the plot was a dilapidated mud hut. The Debswana team then proposed to renovate the house to make it more conducive to live in. He said that the process involved sourcing out roofing material, a door and restoring the mud structure.
“While in the process of renovating the mud hut, we decided to push a little further and rather build a more durable structure. We were worried about the durability and safety of the mud hut. The process of building a more durable structure was very slow and challenging at time as the team contributed money from their pockets and only using weekends to go to Mokoboxane to continue with the project.
“For construction services we engaged one of our local businesspeople Basireletsi Seretse of Rosepan who volunteered to provide builders for gree while CARP employees provided materials and acted as labourers. It was not easy. With determination, love and passion the team toiled up to this day,” Banabotlhe said.
Giving a keynote address, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development who is also the Member of Parliament for Boteti West, Slumber Tsogwane lauded Debswana for its charity gesture. He said that the handover of the house is a fulfillment of Botswana’s vision which envisages that all Batswana should have access to good quality basic shelter, both in the urban and rural areas to restore their dignity.
“This donation goes a long way to augment the already existing efforts to assist the needy people to live a life of dignity. Government has various programmes aimed at assisting the poor and needy members of our society such as Poverty Eradication Programme, Ipelegeng, RADP and Affirmative Action amongst others. However efforts by government alone are not enough without the involvement of the private sector and other stakeholders,” said the minister.
Among other important issues, Tsogwane said that such an initiative complements, President Dr Ian Khama’s call on housing appeal for the needy. He said through such a gesture, Debswana’s OLDM mine has fulfilled one of the 2016 vision pillars of a “Compassionate, Just and Caring nation,” He said government alone cannot easily provide shelter to every needy person and will continue to recognize this kind of gestures.
For her part, the beneficiary, Modumedi who is also disabled, could not hide her excitement as she thanked Debswana and all the stakeholders who made the project a success.
“As you see that I am disabled, I am also sick. I want to thank all of you for putting shelter over my head. I am very thankful, she said in short as tears of joy welled in her eyes.