At least 300 orphans in a small village 45km from Molepolole were on World AIDS day presented with gifts and provided with lunch by the AAP Home Based Care and Family Program and the Standard Chartered (SC) Bank.
The small village of Serinane spent the day congregated at the village Kgotla where the orphans in the village were served a lunch meal and presented with SC T-shirts.
According to Lenyora Matjaka of the AAP Home Based Care Program, the feeding was also done on the same day at a nearby settlement, Mantshwabisi. She told The Sunday Standard that the small village also had about 300-400 orphans.
Matjaka revealed that about P30 000 was spent on the food for the day per village at the expense of SC.
Kagiso Tokwe, volunteer from SC told Sunday Standard that, “Living with HIV is the Standard Chartered Bank’s global HIV and AIDS education programme that aims to reduce the number of new HIV infections, reduce stigma associated with HIV, and meet our Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) commitment to educate one million people about HIV and AIDS by 2010.” He said the bank has an initiative to help the government fight the pandemic.
He also said that by visiting the Basarwa settlement, they were taking charity to further parts of the country to break the chain around towns and the city, disintegrating the way charity reaches the citizens of Botswana.
“Due to too many activities done mostly in cities and towns by the government, we decided to visit the villages of Mantshwabisi and Serinane where there are over 600 orphans living with HIV, so we took an initiative to donate food and clothing and spend the whole day with them to educate them on the Treatment aspect and the significance of it.”
According to Mrs Martha Rampa, the coordinator of AAP, the children were also to be presented with food hampers, toys and clothing but their plans failed due to lack of transport to deliver the gifts.
The village Headman, Kewetse Saborole, told The Sunday Standard that the village is indeed affected by HIV/AIDS.
“We are affected by the pandemic but we now know about it and are receiving as well as appreciating sex education that we are given occasionally. There is no stigma here, our men are now taking strides and protecting their women, unlike in the past,” he said.
A resident of the village and volunteer with the Village Home Based Care Program, Kolobetso Lekollwane, told the Sunday Standard that the village has a high number of orphans because of the virus.
“There are too many children here without parents. You find that there are about 10 children in one homestead, all left destitute after their parents’ passing,” she said.
Lekollwane also lamented that the children in the village did not have a school until this year when the newly built school was opened. The children are sent to boarding school in Salabjwe where they read for their Secondary education courses,” she said.
She also revealed that there were a lot of school dropouts in the village because the parents do not care.
“Children are also sent to school very late.”
The village does not have a health facility as the clinic is still under construction, so the residents wait for the nurse’s visits which occur twice a month.
Lekollwane said that she believes that the HIV prevalence is growing because since she volunteered with HBC in the village in 1990 she noticed more people getting sick each year.