Donors assist Motswedi Orphan and Destitute Society
Bernadette Fungawne holds an infant in her arms and poses for a picture alongside colleague Tshimologop Masilo.
Between them the elderly ladies are ‘mothers’ to around 150 children.
Last Saturday the couple, who help run the Motswedi Orphan and Destitute Society of Mokubilo village, were joined by soldiers, politicians, sponsors and supporters as they celebrated the ‘official’ opening of a donated office building.
But when the dignitaries and well-wishers have gone, the speeches over, clothes and presents distributed, the struggle to care for the children will continue.
It is a vocation the ladies undertook over a decade ago – their mission to build the character of the children and integrate them with kids from all backgrounds. “We wanted them to know they are the same and we love them no matter who they are, or which family they came from,” Bernadette explained.
They were allocated a plot on a patch of barren, rocky ground, but short of funds and equipment the going to develop it has been slow. At times their only resource has been their love for the children and the determination to build a better future for their charges.
Assistance came four years ago when members of the Art of Living spiritual organization based in Francistown adopted the project and raised funds for the development of structures on the site. They hold an annual Christmas party for the children and donate clothes and presents on a regular basis.
The BDF have also donated funds, and at last Saturday’s event guest speaker 2nd Brigade Deputy Commander Col Mbakiso Mukokomani pledged to continue the army’s support for what he termed ‘a worthy and necessary project.’
Area MP Fedelis Molao was also present at the handing over ceremony and commended Motswedi for their efforts at changing orphans’ lives. He reiterated the government’s commitment to care for the less privileged and demonstrate social responsibility through their poverty eradication programmes.
Despite a moving speech, delivered in English and Setswana, he however made no mention of the promise of the P2 million Presidential Donation to build a bakery to help the project become self-sufficient by 2013.
As the dust settled on the retreating 4 x 4’s and army vehicles of the donors and well-wishers, the children were left with their carers, new office, clothes and presents, and wishes of their own.
OUR WISHES AND DREAMS
Romang Ramokgosi 11
I want to be an author and write about my life. Being an orphan is a big challenge and I think sharing my difficulties in writing can change other people’s lives and maybe help find solutions. Most people read to leave the real behind and go into another world, but I would like to share the reality of our lives here. Maybe one day they will make a movie from my book.
Osi Ditaola 14
My wish is to pass my exams, go to university and get a job. I want to be a nurse. My teacher told me to work hard to achieve my dream. I have three siblings and I want to build them a big house. Motswedi helps us with blankets and clothes and that gives us dignity to interact with other kids at school.
Bakula Mack 15
When you do not have parents there are certain things that you cannot afford so I want to work hard at school so that I can have a career and achieve my dream of becoming a teacher. Sometimes at school other pupils buy snacks and I will be hurt thinking that if my mother was alive, she could be giving me money for that.
Kaelo Tamekwa 11
I have never been to Gaborone. I always see it on our neighbour’s television and my dream is to go to university there. I wish to be a pilot and that motivates me to work hard and take my schoolwork serious. I want to be married, drive an expensive car and live in a big house with my family.
Mompoloki Bonang 15
My wish is to be a professional athlete just like Nijel Amos. My dream is to see myself representing my country and flying the national flag high. I am going to become famous, appear on television and newspapers, have money, build a big house for my grandmother who is looking after me, and drive a land cruiser.