Monday, April 19, 2021

Students ‘Lose the Shoes’ for Charity

University of Botswana students on Saturday competed in a barefoot football tournament just behind the National Stadium.

It was for charity.

Participants ignored cloudy weather to play in ‘Schoolyard Style 3 vs. 3′ play to support Stepping Stones International, an after-school program for children affected by HIV.

With the weather indicating the rising of the competition, sixteen teams of boys and girls competed vigorously in the afternoon heat, with a half-time game competed by the Stepping Stones kids entertaining all during the break.

With monetary and volunteer support from Standard Chartered Bank, The Butcher Shop of Gab-West Industrial donating food, and Moghul Dining Hall of UB providing water, the event was well-stocked enough to keep everyone satisfied.

Exchange students Mike Snavely and Derek Ochi, working with the Health and Wellness Center and the Center for the Study of HIV and AIDS at the University of Botswana, put on what they hoped would become an annual event at the university.

With live DJing from Tsiamo, students and Stepping Stones participants played, mingled, and ate together.

Raffle prizes, provided by the University of Botswana Souvenir Shop and Standard Chartered, offered a positive distraction from serious play.

One young exchange student from Swaziland, Senani Mamba, enjoyed herself so much that she continued to play after injuring herself early in the competition. The lone injury in a day of footless play, Ms. Mamba returned to play after only half a game on the sideline.

Group play led to a semi-final and final round, with the final winners being The Warriors, a group of UB students led by Dobson. An integration of student organization and participation, university support, and corporate philanthropy made the day a positive experience which raised over 2500 pula and that will hopefully become an anticipated yearly event.

Stepping Stones is an international charity organization located in Mochudi.

It offers an afterschool support program to at risk young people ages 12-18+.

A young organization of 5 years, Stepping Stones has made great strides, becoming the first organization to receive official Government endorsement, according to the new Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) regulations from the Department of Social Services.

It has expanded greatly as an organization, with over 100 youth enrolled in their program as of this year. Their list of activities include but are not limited to: individual, group, and family counseling, tutored study, life skills workshops, study, job, and leadership skills, income generation activities, sports programs, a girls book club, a drama group, community activities and campaigns, and a support group of HIV positive teens known as “Teen Club”. Those wishing to contribute can become part of their newly launched ‘Adopt a Youth’ program or make a general donation by contacting the founder and current director Lisa Jamu at [email protected] or telephone them on 72106779.

You can also visit their website at www.steppingstonesintl.org.

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