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P30 parking slots raise P35K for charity

Publishing Date : 29 May, 2018

Author : SHARON TSHIPA

The role of international aid in achieving Botswana’s economic and social transformation shrunk when Botswana was declared an upper middle income country.

Some local charity organisations that were dependent on donor funding collapsed, while those that remained in existence were forced to reinvent themselves, coming up with effective fundraising initiatives, and seeking the hand of corporate companies where necessary. Despite the admirable efforts put in by non-governmental organisations to be financially independent, the needs of the disadvantaged are barely met, hence no fundamental social changes are witnessed in the country.


To this end, the Rotary Club of Gaborone (RCG) has called on all foreigners living in Botswana to do more for Botswana’s development in order to motivate social transformation among the citizenry, regardless of the constant pressure to come up with creative ways to solicit funds. “Over the years, RCG has successfully organised charity walks, golf days and other fund-raising activities but we have become a victim of our own success in that other charitable organisations that have a need to raise funds have followed some of our examples.


So there is a constant need to find other fund-raising events,” said Alan Golding, Services Committee Chairperson of the Rotary Club of Gaborone. In order to continue helping the needy with a provision of blankets, wheelchairs, and malaria eradication mosquito nets among other efforts, RCG last year came up with yet another unique fundraising project. In partnership with the Wesbank Botswana International Airshow, RCG initiated the idea to offer parking to attendees of the Airshow at a small price of P30 per car. The 2017 inaugural Matsieng Airshow Rotary Car Park raised P35 000 for the club.


“The event was born out of my visit to the Rotary Club in my home town of Clacton on Sea in United Kingdom where one of their major fund-raising events is car parking for an Air Show. Coincidentally on my return to Botswana in 2017 the Matsieng Airshow was starting to be advertised for that year and the organisers kindly allowed us to take over the car parking in an area immediately opposite the entrance to the show,” shares Golding.


Following the go ahead from their Matsieng Airshow partners, the President of RCG, Tebogo George ensured that Rotarians demarcated roads and parking blocks. They had a team of parking ticket sales persons and parking Marshalls to direct vehicles and achieve parking in an orderly manner. This allowed attendees to park; walk the minimal distance and most importantly leave when they wanted to without being blocked in by other vehicles.


“This year we are pleased to be working with the Matsieng Airshow organisers again and we want to accommodate up to 1200 vehicles in the space provided and hopefully raise even more funds. Last year’s funds were used to purchase wheelchairs. This year the money will go into other charitable projects,” he says, looking forward to the event scheduled for tomorrow (May 26, 2018).


The establishment of the Wesbank Botswana International Airshow itself was encouraged by the need to fundraise for charity. Seven years ago, the founding members were approached by Motswedi Rehabilitation Centre for the handicapped. The centre wanted De Wet Drilling to offer it financial assistance that would go towards caring for the 100 children they look after. The request for help in turn inspired De Wet Drilling to establish the Botswana International Airshow, a project that would help them raise funds to donate to Motswedi.


 “The MFC originally initiated the Airshow to raise funds for this worthy organisation, and it grew to also help other worthy causes over the last few years such as the Sir Ketumile Masire Foundation, Mochudi Fire Brigate and the Lady Khama Charitable Trust,” says Riaan van Vuuren, the Chairperson of the Matsieng Flying Club (MFC) Committee.


To date, the MFC offers support to organisations that focus on helping the less fortunate, with a particular focus on vulnerable women and children. Funds are given to organisations that can demonstrate good governance and financial discipline in their support of the disadvantaged. “We all do this job for free, none of us are paid. All proceeds after accounting for all costs of presenting the event are donated.


Every year we start the show with a zero budget, but we have had support from WesBank, Puma and this year Botswana Tourism Organisation came on board,” he said. MFC consists of 80 percent local membership and 20 percent expatriates. “The show is now attracting foreign investors and tourists. We encourage expatriates coming in to also give to charity,” he added.


Other expatriates that have stepped up for Botswana are the Chinese. Miles Nan, a Former Rotary Member, and current Chairperson of the Charity Association of Chinese in Botswana (CACB), who has been living in Botswana for over two decades, has thus far been involved with charitable initiatives ranging from the Chinese Charity Care Centre (CCCC) in Naledi and SOS Children’s Village, as well as the Warm Winter initiative that donates blankets to the needy through the Office of the President. He has also helped avail scholarships for locals to study in China.


 “I have been living in Botswana for many years so I am familiar with the struggles. If all individual foreigners contributed something little towards charitable efforts, combined, our contributions would translate to one major aid. Foreigners should not keep quiet, they should not be bystanders,” said Miles.


The CACB was founded in 2012. To date, given the combined efforts of the cross country team, the association has also rendered financial support to Botswana Workcamps Association’s horticulture agricultural projects, and facilitated agricultural skills transfer to them. The organisation has also donated BWP175 000 to The Eagle Trust with the motive to empower young people with disabilities through a life skill project.


In 2014 the association went out of its way to not only implement charity projects that target the youth and adults, but catered for children. Targeting children, the project came in the form of a party which aimed at improving exchanges between children of the two countries, helping them know and understand each other’s culture, while sowing goodwill seeds among children. Parents from the Chinese community together with their children donated clothes, schoolbags, stationery and food among others to the children from the local community.


In this regard Miles Nan urges those with nothing to give, to volunteer instead. Free consultancy, knowledge sharing and hands on skills transfer, he says are a must do. His other efforts to contribute to the country’s social transformation are made through the Global Max Media Group, the Oriental Post Newspaper and the recently launched Africa-China Culture and Arts Exchange Society.

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