Many of us were left heartbroken last night when Twitter user Didi Mphehle (@GyaldemSnicker) recounted the mortifying experiences of dozens of children residing in Old Naledi, Gaborone. The distraught young woman took to Twitter to express how a day at work with her mother at Tsholofelong Children and Youth Trust turned into a tear filled day.
The centre runs an after school care programme and provides a safe haven for children from less privileged backgrounds, and for only a few hours the children get a chance to be unburdened with the realities of their painful lives. Children as young as 8 years old who can barely take care of themselves have to be primary caretakers of their 5 year old siblings.
The gross abuse they suffer at the hands of elders in the community, who not only steal from them but also use them as accessories to crimes, is nothing short of inhumane. Girls as young as 10 years old being neglected and left vulnerable to sexual assault just so they can survive.
Her explicit narrative was one too harrowing to ignore, hundreds of Batswana poured out their hearts and offered relief. The outpour of pledges ranged from labour and time to nurture the children, cleaning services, a new washing machine, and organizing fundraisers.
Our very own socialites, singer Dato Seiko and influencer Fifi Mathambo, to mention only but a few, were not too far behind in this heartfelt movement. Socialite Fifi Mathambo offered help in the form of nurture and hygiene, while stylist Tumie Nthutang pledged to donate clothes and food supplies.
Socialite Kagiso Sento, who has been under several fires recently for her unruly comments on Twitter, in one instance calling the masses peasants and in another incident calling out one of her husband VEE Mampeezy’s fans, showed a much more delicate side of herself when she too, pledged to offer relief.
Currently, the centre accommodates 43 children and the number is on the rise. There are many more centres like this one that need relief and this should be a collective call to every Motswana, every corporation and organization to exercise community responsibility, to protect every child. Kudos to our media personalities for being part of the solution.