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School gives disabled destitute new house

PINI BOTHOKO
CHADIBE: Wheelchair bound Rakete Simon now owns a two-roomed house of his dreams, thanks to the staff and students of Tlhalogang Junior Secondary School (JSS).

The school’s Thari ya Mmelegi social club officially handed over the house to the 61-year-old beneficiary on Wednesday.

The chairperson of the social club, Onalethata Motshoganetsi, said the recipient was identified by one of the group members and a teacher, Maikano Gumede.

“Gumede was officiating the 2009 general elections here in Chadibe when she first met Simon along the queue to cast his vote and was touched by his condition and disability,” said Motshoganetsi.

She said Gumede later followed Simon to his yard and saw the dilapidated mud-hut he was sleeping in. She said Simon’s living conditions touched her and she decided to visit him. “Upon my arrival, the first thing that I did not like was the hut that he was sleeping in. It barely looked like a goat kraal with rat’s excretion all over the house. It smelled bad,” said Motshoganetsi.

She sold the idea of building a house for Simon to the social club. She started asking for donations for a wheelchair because Simon’s was old. “We sold the idea to the student’s board, Parents Teachers Association (PTA) that donated P2,000 and we started

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brainstorming about the house construction,” she said.

The club raised funds to construct a semi-permanent house for Simon but the then school head, Edwin Dipatane, said the dwelling must be permanent. She said in 2011, they started the constructing the house. “Students collected sand with wheelbarrows, helped with watering the bricks with staff organising fund raising events and asked for donations,” she said.

Motshoganetsi said that individuals and businesses in Francistown, Borolong and Tonota donated corrugated iron sheets, water, sand, food, curtains and free labour. Motshoganetsi still wants to see a toilet and bathroom built in the house.

“This is the first project but the beginning of a good relationship with the community we serve. The club intends to continue with our mandate of helping the needy in the five villages that feed our school,” said Motshoganetsi.

Simon was overwhelmed with gratitude and joy. He said he used to dread rainfall because the hut he lived in was leaking in several places. “I am so happy that now I have a modern house that I have never thought I would own in my life.”



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