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The perils of parenting a special needs child

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Leadership & Business Coach Hannah Lecha spends much of her time reaching out to parents of children with disabilities. She knows how overwhelming it can be because after all, she is raising a daughter who is epileptic. “About six years ago, my daughter was diagnosed with meningitis just before she turned 3 years old. “Our lives have never been the same, ever since. Three years post the meningitis diagnosis she was further diagnosed with epilepsy.

She has since regressed in her speech, language skills, auditory processing skills and exhibits a whole array of other developmental delays,” shares Lecha. She adds that parenting a disabled child usually involves a great deal of patience and can be very time-consuming. No one makes a plan to parent a special needs child. “The child simply arrives and the day she does is heart-rending and life as you know it is redefined for you,” she says.

The Maun based mother laments feelings of doubt and hopelessness at what the future has in store for her daughter. Her struggles launched her into the role of Executive Director of the Hannah Lecha Foundation. The organisation empowers and conducts training so parents know of available resources to help their children grow. This includes knowledge of public laws and individualised education plans to target a child’s specific needs.

Recently she partnered with Ambrose Trust to host a workshop titled: ‘Giving your special needs child a chance to thrive,’ at the University of Botswana. She explains, “These parents need a level of support that is difficult to give if you haven’t been in their shoes. The understanding that was shared during the workshop was very powerful. “It was especially helpful because these parents are very isolated and despite information that may be available, still end up feeling as if their struggles are unique and represent their failures as parents”.

Furthermore, she says that parents often find themselves wrapped in the struggle of raising special needs children and strive to do everything they can to support them. “We love them unconditionally and protect them at every turn. Sometimes, in the midst of this love and protection, we end up limiting our children and affecting their development,” she said. In the meantime, programmes for those with developmental disabilities remain fragile.

Medical aids specifically, she says, need to be held to task to offer more support to children with special needs. “I have had to open two medical aid schemes just so I can up the cover for my daughter, still it’s not enough”.While children with special needs do not come with manuals, Lecha says the best thing a parent can do is to accept the reality of their child’s condition and not hide them, they should allow themselves to grieve and finally learn and implement some tools to empower themselves and their children to thrive against all odds.

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BMC secures beef market in Seychelles

Dikarabo Ramadubu

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Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) will soon start to sell its beef to the Island of Seychelles. Not only will they sell frozen raw meat, but will also send corned beef for trial in the Island.

All this is thanks to last week’s visit by President Mokgweetsi Masisi who included in his delegation executive management of the BMC, led by Chief Executive Officer, Dr Akolang Tombale.
The agreement signed between BMC and two leading Seychelles companies, will see BMC exporting at least 48 tonnes of raw beef to the island possibly from October. The names of the two companies that BMC signed an agreement with are Seychelles Trading Company which is a quasi-government organisation, and Rosebelle Company which is privately owned.

Although both have agreed to trade with each other, BMC cannot start immediately, as they have to wait for the green light from Seychelles companies who still have to apply for import permits in accordance with the law of their republic.

Speaking to The Midweek Sun, Tombale expressed gratitude that they managed to get good business in Seychelles through the assistance of President Masisi. “We are ready to export any time from now. As you know Seychelles is an island surrounded by mountains and cannot produce much if not anything. “They therefore depend much on imports even from as far as Brazil and Europe. Their economy is driven by tourism and they do not differ much with the European market in terms of the demand for beef as most tourists come from Europe and United States.”

Dr. Tombale said they agreed with the two companies that since “we are not sure about the logistics we will start by selling 24tonnes to each company per month, meaning we will be supplying the Island with a total of 48 tonnes per month. The idea is to start small and grow bigger as the people get used to our beef.” BMC has also negotiated to sell small stock meat to Seychelles and successfully negotiated for local chicken farmers to start selling their range chicken to Seychelles as well.

According to Tombale, he negotiated the deal after being approached by local chicken farmers amongst them Kgosi Mosadi Seboko of Balete, who requested that “we should try to find a market for chicken farmers as we go around the world searching for the beef market.” Tombale revealed that for a start both range chickens and small stock will not be supplied in tonnes or large quantities as they will be sold on a trial basis.

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G-west community reunion-walk a resounding success

Keletso Thobega

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Multitudes turned up for the Mosengwaketsi community walk and braai session this past Saturday in Gaborone West. The walk was held in the morning and was preceded by football games and a braai session that went on until late in the evening.

According to the event director Tshenolo Palai, the aim of the community day event was to revive community spirit and address crime and social ills. “The Mosengwaketsi community reunion will be held not only to create a platform to build unity but also address the social ill of passion killings,” he said.

Palai said that they had also invited health stakeholders for a wellness segment because they had realised that there are many health related conditions that affect the quality of people’s lives hence they had joined forces with religious organisations, the business community, neighbourhood outreach policing and other stakeholders in the area to encourage a culture of unity and create dialogue between all the parties.

He noted that they had wanted to create a relaxed environment conducive for different people to engage and strengthen their networks. He said they were also concerned with the high rate of crimes of passion in Botswana and also wanted to create a platform for both men and women to open up on issues that affect them because most people tend to be more relaxed in a social setting.

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