- thanks to the Japanese govt and local safari operators
The opening of the newly built Bana Ba Letsatsi rehabilitation centre situated in Matlapana, Maun will allow the non-governmental organisation to enroll more children that are in need of care.
Bana ba Letsatsi was established in 2002 in response to the growing number of children on the streets in Maun who were subjected to abuse and drug abuse, most of whom were school drop outs. It provides essential support services to children, youth and their caregivers at risk as well as offering a wide range of programs meant to support, encourage, rehabilitate and empower the beneficiaries return to mainstream schools.
The new, fully functional centre, which was handed over this week officially was made possible through financial support from the Japanese government and some tourism operators.
The Japanese government, through the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project (GGP)funded the project to the tune of USD 75,110 towards the project, while the Safari companies through their initiative dubbed ‘Bed Night Bank’ spearheaded by Safari Destinations and Travel for Impact also contributed funds generated from their clients.
The Safari companies included Ker & Downey Botswana, African Bush Camps, AndBeyond, Letaka Safari, Great Plains, Mack Air, Machaba, Bushways Lodges, Belmond, Sanctuary, Ghoha, Natural Selection, Meno a Kwena, Ngamiland Adventure Safaris, Okavango Wilderness Safaris, Footsteps in Africa and Island Safari Lodge.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony on Tuesday, Bana ba Letsatsi executive Director Taboka Rotsi appreciated funders of the project which includes three new classroom blocks that can accommodate 40 students, two counseling rooms, a library and computer room fitted with internet. She said this was a major shift from their old facility in the Chobe location of Maun which was crowded.
“Back there, we used to accommodate only 11 students and most of the children were turned back because of limited space. But now there is enough space to accommodate more kids,” she appreciated.
Rotsi further revealed that the Japan embassy came to their rescue when they needed their help the most.
The Ambassador of Japan and Special SADC Representative, Ohmori Setsuo said the new facility will provide all necessary services as well as facilitate a better learning environment for the children.
“Many children around the world are denied access to proper education and have their future ruined, together we can stop all that and make sure these children receive proper education,” he said.
He further said the Embassy has been supporting more than 60 community-based and human-centered projects such as the establishment of school blocks and rehabilitation centres for people with disabilities in Botswana since 1997.