Two crocodile attack victims, a mother and her daughter who survived a horrific attack in 2020 and both consequently losing their forearms will receive a shot in the arm from the newly launched Simmon Phuthego Organisation which has pledged to procure them prosthetic arms.
The artificial arms will be acquired with the proceeds from the organisation’s inaugural KAZA Co-Existence charity bushwalk billed for the 3rd December this year.
The two, Nkoketsang and Cecelia Monnawatsheko lost their arms in a crocodile attack while harvesting water lily in the Thamalakane river. The crocodile which initially attacked the daughter, later attacked the mother who was trying to save her daughter.
The duo will be the first beneficiaries of the walk which will be hosted in different KAZA member states each year to benefit victims of the human wildlife conflict according to their needs. The walk also seeks to find mitigation efforts to human wildlife conflict issues.
The bushwalk will cover a 30 kilometre stretch from Matlapana old bridge to Boro village.
Speaking during the launch of the organisation as well as the bushwalk in Maun on Monday, founding chairperson, Simmon Phuthego indicated that the duo will also receive a washing machine and stock for their already constructed tuck shop which helps them to earn a living.
“As a way of mitigating human wildlife conflict the two victims and their close family members will also receive trauma counselling from the proceeds of the walk,” Phuthego added.
He stated that it is imperative for counselling to be provided to both victims and family members to avoid situations where they become revengeful to a particular wild animal which might have caused permanent damage or death to a family member.
Phuthego noted that each year the co-existence bush walk will be hosted in one of the KAZA member states which include Angola, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia, reiterating that the proceeds will then be directed towards helping victims in those areas.
It does not only end with the KAZA bushwalk for the sports enthusiast as he also intends to raise funds for human wildlife conflict victims by summiting mountains across the world. He explained that at every mountain expedition he will seek international funding.
In a previous interview with one of beneficiaries, Cecilia Monnawatsheko lamented that their lives have been difficult as they used to make a living through harvesting water lily and selling it raw or cooked. In the midst of all the difficulties, Monnawatsheko said she also has another burden of taking care of her young children and mother.
“While I was admitted at Nyangabwe Referral Hospital seeking medical attention from the attack, I discovered that I was two months pregnant. It became very difficult having to nurse a newborn baby while trying to adjust to live with one arm.”
She further pleaded, “Prosthetic arms are what my mother and I needed since we are used to fending for ourselves using our hands. They might not work as a natural hand does but it won’t be as difficult as it is for us now.”
With the tuck shop about to receive stock the beneficiaries showed gratitude towards the gesture and applauded Phuthego for empowering them rather than giving them food hampers. “We are grateful for the food hampers given by various individuals and organizations,” Cecilia said