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HIV activist, 72, plans 500KM charity walk

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HIV/AIDS activist and Founder of Thusang Bana Centre, Stanley Monageng, is set to go on a 500km charity walk on May 1, to raise funds for the establishment of structures for the upkeep of orphans under his care. Uncle Stan, as the beloved 72-year old is known, has been running the charity in Molepolole for over a year now, which helps children whose parents have died from HIV/AIDS. With a complementary staff of 25 volunteers, Thusang Bana currently supports around 30 children between the ages of a month to six years old and 16 young people.

As well as being a day care centre for vulnerable children, the centre provides tailoring training for unemployed youth, a gardening project whose produce is sold to raise funds and to feed children and the elderly of the community. Moreover, it conducts HIV and health education activities. “I strongly believe children have the right to live a free happy and healthy life with all opportunities availed to them,” he said. Monageng said he hopes to raise at least P400 000. With the money, he wants to buy porta cabins or caravans, which will be used as a kitchen for the children’s daily meals, a play area as well as for counseling services and space for providing life skills for the elderly. Currently the Centre is renting out a 2-bedroom house, which Monageng says is very small and limiting. “We want to have our own space as our beneficiaries have increased overtime and rental is also very expensive,” he stated.

The walk will be a return trip from Gaborone to Mahalapye, covering villages on the way including Hatsalatladi, Boatlaname, Shoshong, Lephephe, Palla-road, Artesia and Tobela amongst others. “Our main aim is to raise awareness about the treat all programme, which allows people to live longer and let children have a childhood, make it to school and grow up healthy and strong, rather than becoming orphans left to head households at a tender age,” he said. Monageng and his team will hold kgotla meetings in all the villages they will be passing through and provide HIV testing and counseling services and distribute condoms.

Monageng,who has been living with the HIV virus for the past 17 years said specific focus on HIV is vital because the infection rates are still far outpacing the number of people on treatment. “For every two people who started taking antiretroviral drugs, another five become infected, unless we take urgent steps to intensify HIV prevention we will fail to sustain the gains we have made as a country,” he stated. Botswana has the second highest HIV prevalence in the world with latest reports estimating it to be around 17.6 per cent for the general population and 24 per cent for 15 years and above age group.

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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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