Founder and representative of the Republic of Refugee (R.O.R) Evangelist Reginald Stimela, is initiating a three month walk called ‘Walk of Love’ along the Botswana A1 road on October 1st, 2015.
Through this initiative, Stimela aims to raise funds for a halfway house intended for ex-offenders, sensitise the public on the stigma often attached to offenders, create a reconciliation programme between the offender and the victim and also to create support programmes to prop up offenders’ lives through business, education, sports and entertainment careers.
This halfway house will enable ex-offenders re-establish themselves with people and help them in making new positive, God based friendships. Stimela encouraged society never to look down upon ex-offenders, but instead help uplift them through love and support. He said this helps distance ex-offenders from criminal temptations.
Stimela highly emphasised how ex-offenders are forgotten and not rated in society. ‘When one is sent to prison, they automatically lose their possessions, friends, families; leaving them with nothing to survive on after leaving prison. Their after lives depend on fresh foundations which are impossible without society’s support. Society, including the Government seems to reject and neglect ex-convicts,” he says. He further added that their mandate is to give them what they desire, but cannot get as a result of being hampered by society.
The total length of the walk will be 1843km with 20km coverage per day, calculated to take a duration of 100 days. Stimela, alongside three other partners from Botswana Institute of Rehabilitation and Integration of ex-offenders will use the A1 route, commencing in Gaborone and travelling through Francistown, Maun, Gantsi, Kanye, Lobatse ending back in Gaborone.
Evangelist Stimela asked for sponsorship of a support van to use in case of an emergency. The van will be used to carry the support people, walk equipment, camping gear and video crew. He also intends to capture the whole walk on video, sell it as a documentary and also share on all social media platforms which would follow the progress of the Evangelist. Stimela highly praised Limkokwing University of Creative Technology for having created a website for them which will showcase the whole initiation in pictures, written posts and video updates from the first day to the last day of the walk. The website will be launched next week during the press conference and the video shots will be loaded on the website after every 20km with commentaries of his experience.
Botswana Institution of Rehabilitation and Integration of ex-offenders (BIRO) and Prisons Botswana have pledged to be part of the initiation. Stimela encouraged interested sponsors to step up and help them make this walk an achievement. Interested persons are urged to pledge any amount of kilometres the Evangelist covers and each kilometre shall have a minimum threshold of P100 so as to harmonise with the planned 100 day duration.
Asked about future achievements they wish to accomplish, Stimela highlighted that they wish to have more halfway branches across the country and host the fundraising walk annually. Stimela made it clear that, ‘I am not a money mongering Christian; my plan is to raise funds for ex offenders, nothing in my favour’. He lastly added that people believe pastors are money mongers and therefore would like to note that he is not a pastor but an evangelist.
The public is encouraged to join the walk. Letters to villages will be issued to sensitise villagers about the walk.