World News from Botswana
"A society where everyone, regardless of background or disability, feels welcome, included and supported"
Official Calls For More Sponsorships For Disability Sport
(By Mosah Mokganedi, Correspondent, Mmegionline) A top government official has called for more sponsorship for people living with disabilities in sport.
Thomas Motingwa has urged government and the private sector to take people with disabilities seriously as far as sports sponsorship is concerned.
He said that though efforts have been made to take care of the needs of the people with disabilities, it is not enough. Motingwa is the coordinator of people with disabilities in the Office of President (OP).
He was speaking at the inaugural deaf children games in Gaborone. Competitors from Botswana and South Africa participated in chess, netball, football and volleyball in the games. The games were meant to foster relationships between the two countries.
South Africa proved its supremacy winning 16-12 in netball, 4-3 in chess, 4-3 in football and 2-1 in volleyball boys. Botswana girls won 2-0 in volleyball.
Motingwa said the games are a proof that there is indeed ability in disability. "We are gathered here to declare that if people with disabilities can be given a chance, they would exercise their potential," he said.
He explained that just like South Africa, Botswana has made strides in taking care of the people with disabilities and trying to improve their quality of life despite the challenges. "We are also gathered here to emphasise the importance of sports.
"Sport unites nations, empowers individuals and improves one's health," he said. He added that the games are a platform to prepare young sportspeople for bigger competitions in future.
He expressed hope that deaf children will make Botswana proud in future international competitions just like Commonwealth 400m record holder Amantle Montsho. With funds permitting, the games will be held every year alternating between the two countries.
Looking at disability positively
(Onalenna Modikwa, Staff Writer) Selebi-Phikwe: A new rehabilitation and social integration for people with disabilities has been formed in Selebi-Phikwe to lobby and advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.
The organisation, known as Kopano Rehabilitation, is yet to be registered with the Registrar of Companies and comprises volunteer care-givers of people with disabilities who share their experiences and act as role models to those who have still not accepted their conditions.
For instance the rehabilitation's secretary, Leoky Bogatsu, who has a daughter with a disability motivates others by sharing her experiences about raising the nine year-old girl.
Through her talks she has revealed how she kept her daughter's condition hidden out of a misguided sense of shame. "I have accepted my daughter as the best that God could give me and it gives me assurance that God trusted my ability to look after a person with such a condition," says Bogatsu.
Kopano Rehabilitation has already made a mark in the mining town despite operating under certain challenges such as shortage of funds and lack of office space. Currently the committee uses a passenger hall as their meeting place despite the stench from public toilets and contribute towards the food baskets for the organisation's members. Sometimes the committee members go as far as sourcing food from their homes to share with other members.
Bogatsu said their aim is to cater for the improvement of lives of people with disabilities, ranging from mental retardation, autism, cerebral palsy, deaf, visual impairment, speech and language difficulties, learning difficulty, behavior disorders, pervasive developmental disorders as well as albinoism.
"We are aiming at the full integration of people with disabilities into the society. We also seek to empower and impart the disabled with hands-on skills also by manipulating ways to deploy self employment and self-reliance."Bogatsu indicates that they also have a support group for caregivers to give them counselling sessions and to disseminate knowledge and information about understanding disability as well as creating awareness about disability within the society and resources allowing, acquiring funds for attaining equipment and aids such as wheelchairs.
Kopano Rehabilitation also aims to work with communities at changing attitudes and supporting people with disabilities as well as working with rehabilitation officials to identify and take children with disability for assessment and therapy.
Bogatsu said they intend to build a rehabilitation center in Selebi-Phikwe to offer protection to people with disabilities. "We want to discard the myth that disability is a curse or a blot in our social status by implementing initiatives such as having a garden as a means of rehabilitation which will be solely managed by people with disabilities and volunteers. Volunteers from all over will be drawn to work with people with disabilities to teach them developmental skills such as painting, sculpturing and flower arranging. Those who excel in physical education will be attached to relevant people who will be able to accelerate their ability to much greater heights for instance, paralympics," says Bogatsu.
Bogatsu said they are concerned that social welfare officials strike caregivers off the food baskets lists and order them to go and look for employment without considering the attention that a person with a disability needs total attention. "People with disabilities need 100 percent of our attention as caregivers therefore it is not easy to leave them in the lurch to go and look for employment and you cannot hire somebody to look after them because of their special needs."
So far the organisation has about 60 members with more people expected to join.
Ministry to train people with disability
(13.04.10) Ministry of Health will begin a trainer of trainer program in order to improve its capacity to educate people with disability, Parliament heard last week.
Assistant Minister of Health, Mr Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri said health education officers would also receive training in sign language.
Mr Matlhabaphiri said his ministry is engaged in a number of initiatives geared towards addressing the needs of people with disability and living with HIV/AIDS.
He said among the initiatives implemented in 2009/10 was the incorporation of sign language into televised HIV/AIDS programs as well as the development of audio cassette messages for the visually impaired.
Mr Matlhabaphiri said the government is currently pursuing a formal agreement with the Botswana Council of the Disabled to further strengthen HIV/AIDS response.
He was responding to Nkange MP, Mr Edwin Batshu, who asked the minister if there were any HIV/AIDS programmes specifically designed for people with disabilities.
If not, he asked how government planned to address the needs of people with disabilities in relation to HIV/AIDS.
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Last Updated: 20.12.12