Bana Ba Letsatsi (or BBL, as the community affectionately calls it) is a haven for vulnerable children in the Maun community, striving to rehabilitate them back into schools and society. While every child and situation is different, the trained staff continuously provide unlimited support, encouragement, and resources on a daily basis in order to achieve their goal of seeing children reach their full potential and realize their dreams.
Recently, Tshepi from Travel for Impact had the opportunity to meet with Gomolemo Sathebe, a young man who has been able to rise past various challenges in his life through the support of Bana Ba Letsatsi and their team. Now 25 years old and working as the stores assistant at Ker & Downey Botswana, he was willing to share his story with TFI and give a firsthand example of the inspiring work that BBL is able to accomplish.
Gomolemo dropped out of school early on, faced with hardships at home and forced to begin looking for a means of survival for himself and his siblings. In 2009, the BBL program identified him as vulnerable youth and placed him in a year-long program before he was integrated back into the school system. There, he was able to complete both his Junior and Senior certificates. “Unfortunately, I did not qualify to go to Tertiary level, but I did not let that break me,” Gomolemo explained. He returned to BBL in order to volunteer with helping the younger children who were then in the same position that he had been once before. “As time went on,” he continued, “my mentors got in contact with Mr. Magara, the director at CCTM, and I was enrolled to study Psychosocial Support. While pursuing this course, I had Bana Ba Letsatsi in mind – I wanted to give back to the children in my community and hopefully make an impact on their lives.” Gomolemo was soon employed with Boyei Primary School after passing his studies with a merit, putting his skills to good use and supporting the vulnerable children enrolled there.
In 2018, opportunity came knocking at the door for Gomolemo: the director at BBL, Ms Taboka Rotsi, began encouraging him to apply for the position of stores assistant at Ker & Downey Botswana. His tenacity and confidence proved successful in the interview and he began his new role at KDB in October of 2018. “I was a bit sad to leave Boyei Primary because I had good working relationships with everyone there, but they were happy for me and my blessings wished me well,” he recounted. “All I can say is that I am happy to be independent and to be able to help provide for my family.”
Throughout this amazing journey, Gomolemo has continued to volunteer his time at Bana Ba Letsatsi, recognizing firsthand the importance of having a strong support system for a vulnerable child. His dedication and hard work did not go unnoticed: Ms Rotsi recognized his potential to be a great leader and mentor, offering him a role as a member of the board at BBL. He gladly accepted. “I am truly grateful for the support that BBL gave me during my toughest times, encouraging me not to give up on myself,” he explained. “Who knows where I would be right now? They have become my family and I will continue to support them in any way I can.”
When we come across young people like Gomolemo, those who have overcome life’s challenges and are now leaders in their communities, we are able to fully appreciate the dedication and work of Bana Ba Letsatsi; however, this work cannot continue without the support of individuals and larger organizations. It is incredibly important that BBL continues to access the resources that they need to make an impactful difference in children’s lives.