Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Disadvantaged children spoilt rotten at Masa Centre

“For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers through it once a day.

“For poise, walk with the knowledge that you are not alone. People, more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others.”

Sam Levenson couldn’t have said it any better.

On Monday the disadvantaged children of Mother Pontsho Foundation and Anne Stine Centre from Mmopane and Molepolole respectively, got to run their hands through the ‘hairs’ of Masa Centre at the CBD.

Among other things, the children got to, for their first time ever, to go to a cinema experience courtesy of Capitol Cinemas.

“When I heard the children laughing their lungs out through the movie my heart filled with so much joy,” said Mother Pontsho Foundation founder, Pontsho Kgori.

“You cannot buy such kind of joy. It’s priceless.”

Although only registered early this year as a foundation, Kgori says she has been helping disadvantaged children for over a decade. Giving to the less privileged, she says, has always been part of her nature.

She told Arts & Society that she has always felt a great deal of sympathy for the disadvantaged. “I remember a specific moment way back when I was a little girl,” she says.

“There was this girl whose parents could not afford to buy her a Christmas dress and I stole mine from my mother’s wardrobe and gave it to her.”

She says her foundation assists orphans, the needy and those with disability. She says they also provide home based care. “Our vision is to restore and maintain dignity in all the lives we touch,” she says.

The foundation currently caters for 153 children from and around Mmopane village. More often than not Kgori, a priest, sponsors the children from her own pocket with the occasional assistance from her congregation.
She has four biological children of her own.

The Anne Stine Centre from Molepolole caters for the intellectually challenged children ranging from five to 14 years old. The centre, which can accommodate approximately 30 children at a time, only operates as a day school.

“We transport the children to and from school on a daily,” said Nankie Kgosiemang, coordinator. She says most of their students are those with Downs Syndrome, Autism and other related conditions. They help the children out through various forms of therapy including physio and occupational therapy.

She says some of their major challenges they face include lack of special education teachers, funds to renovate and expand their infrastructure as well as maintaining their vehicles.

“The government only assists with employees’ remuneration and the day to day expenses like meals. On how they identify the children Kgosiemang says the children are recommended to them by parents, clinics and the Central Research Centre after evaluation. “We also do our own evaluations,” she told Arts & Culture.

The Anne Stine Centre was officially opened in March 1993 by then First Lady, the late OlebileMasire. The children got to indulge in fun activities including jumping castles and received clothing, goodie bags to take home after being treated to a special lunch on a long set of tables running from one end of the complex to the other. Masa Centre’s ‘Food and Clothing for Charity’ campaign commenced in June early this year and will end in November.

“This five month long campaign is aimed at the sole purpose of giving back to the less privileged in society,” reads a statement from the centre management. The campaign was sponsored by tenants, patrons, the general public and corporates. Pep Stores,Pick n Pay, Seabelo, Gourmet Grill and New Capitol Cinemas were the official sponsors.

“Every charitable act is a stepping stone towards heaven,” said Henry Beecher.

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