NGO desperately need cash to transport Boro kids to school

Francinah Baaitse
TOUGH TIMES: Without the bus, Boro school kids face a grueling walk

Botho Corps, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) based in Boro settlement on the outskirts of Maun, is in desperate need of financial help so it can continue providing free transport for school-going Boro youngsters.

Last year, these children, some as young as five, were saved from the gruelling 15km walk to school in Maun when Botho Corps was given a mini bus by Lucara Mine to help transport the learners.

The mine, according to the NGO’s director, Didimalang Biorn, also paid for the diesel and the driver’s salary.

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“The contract has now come to an end and it has not been renewed hence we are asking for a kind donation to continue the good cause. We need P180 000, for a whole year fuel, service and driver’s salary,” pleaded Biorn.

Before the introduction of the school bus, local children had to endure the 30km round trip to-and-from school to access Education. As well as the exhausting distance, they were at the mercy of harsh weather elements, sometimes rain but mostly unforgiving heat. The sandy bush is also home to dangerous wild animals, including temperamental elephants.

“This is a 22-seater bus, but we started with 30 children. However, the numbers have almost doubled because when the parents realised there was a free and consistent bus for the children, some who had taken their children to stay with relatives in Maun brought them back to Boro. The numbers gradually went up and because of the day shifts at schools we make four trips a day and mostly in the mornings the bus is full, with some of the children having to stand throughout the journey,” revealed Biorn.

NGO desperately need cash to transport Boro kids to school

Most young Boro children attend Matlapana Primary School, one of Maun’s vastly over populated schools. Unfortunately for the older learners at junior secondary school, there is still no free transport for them.

“It is a dangerous journey. These children jump into any vehicle that offers them free ride, they just have no choice and sometimes they skip school if they come across intimidating elephants,” explained area Councillor, Kenson Kgaga of Boro-Senonnori ward.

From Maun West Constituency Development Fund, around P2 million was used to construct a satellite primary school in Boro for lower classes.

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The school was expected to open in January this year but a lack of accommodation for teachers put paid to this.

“Initially it was thought that the teachers will be accommodated by VDC (Village Development Committee) but the houses were found not to be in good standard for that purpose,” admitted Kgaga.

After emerging triumphant in the 2019 polls, area Member of Parliament (MP), Dumelang Saleshando, who is also leader of Botswana Congress Party (BCP), brought forward a development plan for his constituency. Chief among his ambition was to build the satellite school in Boro to cater for learners from Standards One to Three.

Construction was initially delayed due to outbreak of Covid-19, with work only starting in earnest last year, in the hope it would be ready by the start of this year.

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