“I’ve even visited my son’s school and all I was told was that he was beaten up by a certain Ms Galeboelwe. The schoolhead did not even show remorse and she wouldn’t help”
Mother of boy maimed by teacher appeals for financial assistance
The mother of a schoolboy who was beaten and maimed by a teacher in Tsabong a month ago has launched a fresh appeal to help her paralysed 10-year old boy with critical physiotherapy treatment.
It has been almost a month since Ronnie Seoko- a Standard 4 pupil at Seetelo Primary School in Tsabong was discharged from Victoria Hospital in Mafikeng where he was admitted.
But while the boy’s home coming has brought some hope to the family, it has also left his mother Baikgantshi Keogotsitse with high medical bills to foot.
The distressed mother still has to constantly travel across the border to Mafikeng for her son to receive periodic treatment from the much more affordable services of Victoria Private Hospital.
Baikgantshi now spends a substantial part of her meagre earnings as a teacher and her time on road travels to Mafikeng every Friday.
Her expenses include a weekly R350 on her son’s brain assessment, which is 10% of her medical aid plus P100 on fuel not to mention accommodation and food.
She also regularly travels from Tsabong to Ramotswa and Gaborone for the boy’s speech and physiotherapy respectively.
“It’s difficult to round up the figures, but I spend a lot of money. Apart from the regular trips to Mafikeng and Gaborone, some of the money is spent on other essentials such as food, diapers and an occasional helper,” she said.
At the tender age of 10, the young Seoko was rendeded mute, paralysed and, according to his doctors, with an Intelligence Quotient (IQ) or intellectual capacity of a 3-months old baby after he was severely assaulted by his teacher at school.
“He’s now a baby and we’ve given up on him ever catching up with his peers.
Although it pains us to watch other kids play while he is lying there like a baby, we’re just glad that he’s alive and the hope is that someday he’ll be able to speak and walk again,” Baikgantsi said.
The young boy’s ordeal started two months ago when he was allegedly beaten up severely by his teacher.
When she received the sad news, Baikgantshi who teaches at Pitshane Molopo rushed to Tsabong where the boy stayed with the grandmother and took him to Athlone hospital in Lobatse.
The following Monday the child was paralysed and they took him to Princess Marina Hospital where he was turned away as he had not been booked for a scan.
“We then made the booking for Thursday and took the child back to Athlone,” the boy’s father Golebaone Keogotsitse said.
When they returned to Marina on the appointed date they could not get any help as they were told that the hospital did not have the necessary ointment for scanning.
“We tried Gaborone Private Hospital (GPH) but they could not help us as they said they were not taking any medical aid for the scan and they required us to pay P6 700 upfront which we did not have,” Keogotsitse said.
The couple then decided to take their son to the more affordable Victoria Private Hospital in Mafikeng where they also have a medical account.
Talking about how her son’s ill health has adversely affected the family finances, Baikgantshi said: “I’ve had to close down my bar and supermarket and used the funds for my son’s treatment and medication.
The funds have since dried up after paying all the bills and my little salary is not enough to feed my family.”
She has since taken the matter up with the Ministry of Education and Skills Development ( MoESD) but she says they have not been helpful.
“I’ve been to all the relevant education offices and to the Ministry of Health and the Office of the President. All I got was criticism for taking my son to Mafikeng.
What was I expected to do, wait for him to die when there was not even a sign of help?” she asked
“I’ve even visited my son’s school and all I was told was that he was beaten up by a certain Ms Galeboelwe. The school head did not even show remorse and she wouldn’t even help me take my son to the nearest hospital,” she added.
Doctors in Mafikeng earlier told Baikgantsi that checkups showed that her son suffered from meningitis in the brain which caused difficulty in speech, walking and focusing.
All enquiries by The Voice were referred to the MoESD who said they were still investigating the matter.
“The Ministry through Kgalagadi Regional Education Office is still in the process of investigating the matter.
The Regional office has been in contact with the parents who are reported to be in South Africa where the student is admitted.
Recently the parents are unreachable as their phones do not get through.
The investigation will be complete after medical reports are availed by parents.
Upon completion of the investigation any necessary and relevant action will be taken,” Silas Sehularo, the MoESD spokesperson said.