UK migrant returns to Gaborone to restore dignity to the disabled
The only girl in a family of boys, Charity Hiscox, 43, set herself apart by following a path many would have found terrifying.
A chef by training, Charity then 23- years of age, landed a job in Johannesburg after graduation from a culinary school in Pretoria, South Africa.
Her family, although uncomfortable with the idea of a young girl from Thamaga settling in the fast paced city of gold, reluctantly gave her their blessings to pursue her dreams.
Soon after that, Charity, however learnt of the working holiday visa that gave one an opportunity to travel and work abroad.
“I was excited at the thought of travelling and gaining exposure to a bigger world, so I did the unthinkable and relocated to the UK without telling my parents. I was afraid they would not understand my decision so I simply up and went,” she said.
She had however confided in a friend and church mates about her plans.
In the UK, Charity quickly got acquainted with the idea of back breaking menial work for survival.
“It was tough and completely different from the life I was accustomed to back home but I embraced it. I was in the heart of London working all the time to make ends meet. And then a friend in a different town suggested that I moved to take advantage lower cost of living and better paying jobs in that partucular area.”
It was a futile move!
“Soon after that I was evicted from my friend’s house and thrown out in the cold at night and my friend charged with subletting. I was disillusioned and felt completely lost.”
In the middle of this crisis Charity says she remembered the wise words of her aunt telling her that “Quitters in life never win and one must never depend on anybody to succeed.”
“It saved my life from descending into a pit of depression and helped me to pick myself up by my bootstraps and find both work and a place to live.”
She got her break working at an old people’s home when one day, the center’s chef didn’t turn up and the manager asked her to fill in for the chef.
“I nailed the assignment and ultimately I was offered a full time spot.”
The break gave Charity a chance to build her life in the UK.
“I spent my time well, learning all I could and bonding with both the staff and those that used the facilities. I was fulfilled.”
Then on a 2005 December break from work, Charity’s life would take yet another significant turn for the best when she met Keith Hiscox, her husband.
“I had joined some friends in Milton Keyes for New Year’s eve when I met Keith.”
“I agreed to meet him again the next day but had no idea that this stranger would present me with a three carat diamond ring and ask for my hand in marriage. Yet it felt right so I said yes,” She fondly recalls.
Husband and wife worked hard and enjoyed the fruits of their hard labour but Charity always knew she would one day want to track back to Botswana.
“I was consumed with wanting to put to use all the skills I had amassed through my experience living in the UK. I had a vision and truth be told, my dear husband initially did not understand.”
However three years ago, the couple relocated to Botswana to set in motion the dream of building a centre that would offer care and training for people living with disabilities.”
Trained in Equality and Diversity, Charity was ready.
“I had been moved by the dignity those society often cast away feel when given the chance to live decently. When given the right care and support, many with disabilities can live fruitful and independent lives.”
The World Cuisine Skills Centre operates from Bokaa boasting four fully equipped kitchens, a bar facility, front office, housekeeping room and a flower arrangement training facilities.
Filled with emotion, Charity mentions last week’s graduation ceremony where 13 people with disabilities were awarded certificates for completing training in various skills.
“I’m full of joy. I may not have all I wish for right now, but I am content to be on this path. We have taken great care to equip the centre with disability congnisant machinery and we truly offer world-class training. ” She beams.
“Everyone is significant and has something to offer.” She adds as she wraps up the interview.