A testimony from Lahil Baitlotli on how he dumped the gay lifestyle for “a healthy normal live” has led to the formation of a new organization.
The organization, dubbed “OVERCOMERS”, which is currently registered as a trust, is geared towards rehabilitating the bisexuals, homosexuals, prostitutes and the intersexual (hormonal sex change).
Baitlotli recently shared his experiences with our sister paper, The Telegraph, on how he was trapped in these dysfunctional lifestyles.
Baitlotli, who related his story on how he was buffeted by the culture shock of homosexuality, has been appointed the interim coordinator of the OVERCOMERS.
In an effort to spearhead the organization, former BOCONGO Executive Secretary, Boitumelo Bolele, has been roped in to assist the new NGO with registration, resource mobilization and networking.
According to Bolele, the new NGO came to the fore after some of the concerned leaders approached Baitlotli after they read his testimony in the paper.
She indicated that some of the leaders from churches felt that his testimony could also be used to drive deliverance to those who are trapped in these dysfunctional lifestyles.
Bolele emphasized that the OVERCOMERS will be the first of its kind in Botswana.
“Botswana does not have a rehabilitation centre for the gays and lesbians though there are small pockets of rehabilitation programming for prostitutes.
“To date, statistics on homosexuals, gays and prostitutes are not known because no studies are usually undertaken,” she added.
Bolele said that there is a growing number of gays, prostitutes and lesbians confidentially approaching church organisations in search of rehabilitation.
Bolele is adamant that once the OVERCOMERS is established, it will compliment establishments, such as churches, with counselling capacity.
She also stated that the OVERCOMERS will further augment the National Aids Coordinating Agency (NACA) because it is evident that response has been weak with regards to gays, lesbians, prostitutes and bisexuals.
According to Bolele, the response is weak despite their high risk of contracting diseases, such as HIV/AIDs, in the society.
She said that Baitlotli, who has been appointed as the interim coordinator, is best placed to set free those trapped in those same circumstances he experienced because he has requisite experimental knowledge.
She has a firm belief that programmes, such as corrective Counselling and Rehabilitation skills, information dissemination, research and advisory services to government, will be rolled out.
Bolele noted that the programme will target key stakeholders, such as churches, schools, prisons, youth and family oriented NGOs, sporting organisations, political organisations and social workers.
She explained that councillors will be drawn from organizations, such as political and sporting organisations, who will be equipped with skills to identify the candidates for the programme.
She said councillors will be trained on family counselling and rehabilitation, including reconciliation with family.
Bolele, however, denied that the organisation was building a voice that was against the Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA) which has been advocating for gay rights in Botswana.
She said that many children, more especially street kids, find themselves trapped in this lifestlye. She noted that the organisation was not against the gay rights but there is a possibility that there are some who need help to abandon that lifestyle.
Baitlotli is also adamant that the NGO in the offing will try and rehabilitate many who found themselves in a lifestyle that he has since quit. He indicated that he is optimistic that the government will assist him as NACA has already promised that they will assist him in his course.