Why Bana Ba Letsatsi
Mpho is 16 years old and the eldest of five children. When Mpho and his family were discovered in 2009, they were experiencing a severe lack of parental care due to his mother’s alcohol abuse, and as a result he had dropped out of school. Mpho and his siblings were spending most of their time hanging around the streets desperately searching for food, while Mpho was also begging for money to feed his own drug abuse.
After assessment and discussion with Mpho, it was decided that he would enter our non-formal schooling system where he learned many life skills and was involved with mentoring activities, as well as the daily activities at Bana Ba Letsatsi. He was recently enrolled in a boarding school outside of Maun where he is doing well. We continue to monitor his progress through school updates and centre assessments when he returns for the holidays.
Lesedi is 13 years old and has been with Bana Ba Letsatsi since 2009. She has one younger brother. Their mother is a single parent and is often absent from home, sometimes for periods up to a month, without telling the children where she is. During these periods Lesedi takes on the role of head of her family, providing for her siblings as best she can in her mother’s absence.
Lesedi and her younger brother were registered with us during one of these periods. She was unable to do little more than focus on trying to care for her younger brother, leaving her no time to attend school or enjoy other children’s activities. With the support and counselling we have provided, Lesedi is now doing very well at school. Therapy and counselling has seen Lesedi grow into a strong and self motivated girl, with aspirations to qualify as a doctor in the future - a dream that we will do all we can to support.
Gabriel is 15 years old and registered with Bana Ba Letsatsi in 2006. His father, a single parent and very ill at the time, was not able to care for his children and they were brought up by their elderly blind grandfather. This basically left Gabriel responsible for his younger brother, but he was only 15 years old himself..
Gabriel has been involved in many Bana Ba Letsatsi programmes, including therapy and life skills sessions. Through lots of hard work Gabriel completed his primary school leaving examination, allowing him to progress in his education. Through our ongoing support and encouragement he is growing into a responsible young man and we will continue to support him in this manner.
In 2009 Orapetse was begging on the streets and would more often than not go an entire day without food. He had done badly in his school examinations, and after hearing how our project had helped disadvantaged youths, sought our help. We immediately saw how serious he was about furthering himself, and agreed to fund him through his successful re-sitting of his exams at the Government of Botswana out-of-school learning centre.
After his single mother died he began to struggle in school once again. We supported him through this turmoil and by 2010 he was enrolled as a mentor where he advised younger children to stay away from drugs, alcohol and other negative influences. We supported him for a second time through his re-sits and he was admitted into university in Gaborone where he is doing incredibly well in his studies. Orapetse is a living example of how a young person’s life can be transformed by the work of Bana Ba Letsatsi.
One arrived at Bana Ba Letsatsi in 2009, aged 15. Referred to us by her mother, One had visited other organisations and been counselled by several social workers without any progress. We worked hard to establish her trust and through ongoing counselling discovered that she had been raped, and had become pregnant, at the age of 13. Her parents removed her baby at birth and she had not seen it since.
Through counselling sessions One revealed many issues, including her hatred of her mother and her thoughts of suicide. Local schools refused her due to her record of dropping out, and she instead entered our non-formal schooling system. Through a variety of support systems and therapeutic disciplines One has learnt the value of herself. She continues to deal with her past but is now a model to others, demonstrating how to change and move on.