How You Can Help a Community in Botswana

Young boys help to harvest papyrus. Ian MichlerYoung boys help to harvest papyrus
There are a number of ways to get involved in a community in Botswana. Here is a look at a few of the options available to those wanting to help.

By Katie Edge

Despite a prospering economy thanks to diamond trading, there are a number of communities in Botswana that are struggling with the rampages of HIV/AIDS and lack of resources. Here are a few ways in which you could get involved and help a community.

HIV/AIDS

Botswana is known to be suffering with one of the worst HIV/AIDS epidemics in the world with almost 25% of all adults between the ages of 15 to 49 having the disease. This is the highest percentage in sub-Saharan Africa. There are a number of organisations within Botswana that work tirelessly to support HIV/AIDS testing and prevention projects. These organisations get involved with the communities and try to strengthen and improve awareness.

HOPE goes into various areas and establishes community centres where those infected or affected by HIV/AIDS can go for help. These community centres also help people suffering with tuberculosis and other sexually transmitted diseases. HOPE's outreach program works with volunteers, politicians, teachers and other prominent figures within the communities to teach and educate the people about the disease in an attempt to reduce the social stigma attached to the infections. Through the publication of posters, pamphlets, newsletters and radio programs the project hopes to improve the knowledge and understanding of both suffers and their friends and families.

Children in Need

Okavango Delta local ferry taxiIn 2010 it was estimated that more than 20% of all children in Botswana would be orphaned due to parents dying from HIV/AIDS and other illnesses. Many of these children rely on their extended families and the surrounding communities for housing, care and financial support but as the elder generations begin to die, and more orphans place greater pressure on the support base the community's capacity to help is being exhausted.

Projects such as Child Aid, which is supported by PACT South Africa and Planet Aid, work together with the communities using an adaptable model to develop initiatives based on the specific community's requirements. These initiatives include giving assistance and care to the orphans, preventing labour-related child abuse, providing education, improving health care and attempting to develop and improve the economic empowerment of these children.

Other programs such as SOS Children rely on generous donations through the sponsorship of a child within their project. By helping to sponsor a child in Botswana you can help to improve their day to day lives and provide them with education, a healthy meal, clothing and other assorted basics requirements.

Contact:

SOS Children's Village Association Botswana
Southring Road
Plot 2852
PO Box 30396
Gaborone
Botswana
Tel: +267/39 53 220
Fax: +267/395 32 20
e-mail: soscv@info.bw
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