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Long distance marriages tear families apart – Bishop Beleme

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Transferring couples to areas far away from their spouses affects marriages and the stability of family life. This was said by chairperson of the Botswana Council of Churches (BCC) also Bishop of the Anglican Church in Botswana, Reverend Metlhayotlhe Beleme during the launch of the Tsholofelong Children and Youth Trust in Gaborone. Beleme said the continued breakdown of the family unit in Botswana contributed to moral degeneration in society, and in turn led to high divorce, infidelity and abuse in communities.

His sentiments echoed those of Bakgatla Regent, Kgosi Bana Sekai which he expressed to President Ian Khama during the latter’s recent farewell tour in Mochudi. Beleme implored government to support the establishment of the social values council, which he said would help bring together with key stakeholders such as dikgosi, district commissioners and religious leaders, who are involved every day in conducting marriages, settling family disputes and promoting social values through their day to day work. He said it was important to invest efforts into the family unit because most social ills are a result of the fact that the family as the basic social transformation and socialisation forum has crumbled.

Beleme said the Social Values Council would also instil or promote the value of parenting in society. “I believe you could agree with me that no parenting, no future, no future, no legacy and no better Botswana tomorrow.” He said Botswana needed a God-led social transformation, adding that churches were equipped to help in moral education and formation in society. The Bishop said Botswana is faced with a dangerous culture of moral decay where there is little respect for law and delinquency is the order of the day. He said that such actions that go against the grain were detrimental to positive nation building. “This culture of bread first, morals later create expediency culture and is detrimental to nation building.”

His vice Reverend Gabriel Simane added that Botswana had reached the pit of moral decay. He noted that as the situation stands, dogs couldn’t bark because Botswana society is eyeball to eyeball with complete destruction. Beleme noted that while the core business of the church is to preach salvation and the word of our Lord Jesus Christ, there was no academic distinction between body and spirit, adding that it was equally important for the church to contribute to the material needs of needy Batswana across the wide social spectrum. He cited that children and youth development, women empowerment, rehabilitation, refugee work and the provision of education and resources such as water, shelter and food, remained engagements close to the heart of the church, particularly those affiliated to BCC.

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Botswana urged to sign Maputo

Keletso Thobega

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Botswana is one of the five countries that have been advised to sign the Maputo Protocol. Botswana, Egypt and Morocco are the only three African countries that have not signed this Protocol. Adopted in 2003 and implemented in 2005, the Maputo Protocol is a ground-breaking protocol on women and girls’ human rights, both within Africa and beyond.

It compensates for the shortcomings in the 1981 African Charter with respect to women and girls rights. It includes 32 articles on women and girls’ rights, and also provides an explicit definition of discrimination against women, which was missing in the African Charter.

The Maputo Protocol defines discrimination as “any distinction, exclusion or restriction or any differential treatment based on sex and whose objectives or effects compromise or destroy the recognition, enjoyment or the exercise by women, regardless of their marital status, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in all spheres of life.”

The State of African Women Report 2018 stipulates that more still needs to be done to implement laws and commitments to the rights of women and girls in African societies. While there has been significant improvements in addressing issues affecting women and girls over the years, the report notes that commitment to girls and women’s right is still lagging behind.

The report highlights that:
“Three in five countries in Africa do not criminalise rape, young women aged 15-24 in sub-Saharan Africa are 2.5 times more likely to be infected by HIV in comparison to men in the same age group, more than half of maternal deaths worldwide occur in sub-Saharan Africa and that gender based violence and sexual assault still affects women more”.

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Mama Rampa, the Good

Yvonne Mooka

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NOBLE CALLING: Martha Rampa on a mission to rescue the underprivileged

Martha Rampa, project manager at AAP Home Based Care and Family Life Programme quit her nursing job over ten years ago to attend to the needs of orphans, poor and sick.

AAP has 3119 orphans and underprivileged children from South East, Kweneng, Kanye and Kgalagadi districts. The Non-Governmental Organisation aims at supporting, providing food, clothing, shelter, education, nursing care, counselling and supporting destitute, terminally ill patients and orphaned children.

According to Rampa, the thrust of the practice is the link between the patient and the clinical management services. “It is a person-centred approach, which ensures that patients receive the appropriate service in a supportive and effective manner. Destitute and orphaned children have over time become integral part AAP programmes,” she said.

Last Saturday, she organised an appreciation dinner for donors. It was a colourful event where beneficiaries had also come to testify about the way their lives have changed since they were enrolled.

One of the young girls said that she had given up on life as she was from a poor family. The under 15 girl said that through AAP, she managed to continue and is exceling at school. A young man under 20 said that he was moved from a settlement where he could not focus on his studies because of his family background.

AAP put him through a different school that has boarding. “At AAP, we call her mama Rampa. She is our mother and we are so blessed to have her,” he said at the event in Gaborone.

The primary aim of AAP is to rehabilitate and develop children in difficult circumstances such as orphaned children, street children, economically poor and socially oppressed children and work for the eradication of child labour and child exploitation.

Rampa said the vision is to help and give many more children a real and loving home which helps them to live and grow up to be free, healthy and independent individuals; to influence behavioural change of individuals, especially those in the realm of sex and family life and to introduce a change that will bring a transformation, which alleviates the impact of HIV/Aids infection and stops the spread of the virus within the community.

She said there were local companies that had committed themselves to giving the children food after every two weeks. Through her gift of counselling, she also assists with providing emotional and spiritual support including counselling to orphans, destitute, terminally ill and the poor. She also prays for them.

She said that since the project started in 2000, the focus was on the care of HIV/AIDS patients. Volunteers were trained to take care of terminally ill patients in their homes. “Due to lack of funds in supporting the volunteers, for three years only 45 were full time serving in the project with great results.

“A networking relationship was established with Ministry of Health/AIDS department and Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs as well as other NGOs like BOCAIP, Clinics around Gaborone and Church leaders. We effectively communicated our mission to our leaders like Counsellors, Members of Parliament and diKgosi in the areas where we are operating,” she said.

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