Batswana have proven that when necessary, they can rise to the occasion and assist one another.
Compassion shown by the nation in response to the appeals of the Ntshabele family in the past few weeks is heart-warming. Coming together to fundraise and contribute towards cancer treatment of young Abian Ntshabele has proved that Botswana is a caring and compassionate nation. We can all stand and be proud to be called Batswana.
Last December, the UK-based Ntshabele family made a plea for financial assistance for treatment of their 14-year-old daughter, popularly known as Abbie, who has been diagnosed with a rare condition of ovarian cancer called Immature Teratoma.
In just four weeks, the fundraisers reported that while the initial target was P500,000 by Monday night, over P703,600 had been raised. This is very commendable in the most financial testing month of January.
Batswana seem, however, willing and ready to do more. From social media reports and responses, many Batswana who had intended to contribute on pay day, pledged to continue with their plans as they recognise that it was not just the operation in China that young Abbie and her family will need resources for.
There will be aftercare medication and other needs which will prove a tall order for her mother, Tiny Ntshabele who had to leave a well paying job in the United Kingdom to focus on caring for the young Mochudi teenager.
Moreover, Abbie’s mother sold her home and all property in Botswana to seek medical help in the UK when she realised the Botswana medical health facilities could not help her only child. Now the family is homeless.
And for a jobless mother to take care of an ailing child, the nation of Botswana seems to have come around at the last hour to ensure that with little they can cushion the family.
In addition to organisations and individuals who have campaigned and contributed to Abbie’s fund, there are those like UK-based Motswana songwriter, Lorraine Lionheart, whose selflessness must be recognised. She started the campaign and for a month used her international and social media status to push the fundraising. We applaud her for that, and hope many other celebrities will emulate her example. Finally, it is our prayer and hope that the money raised will save Abbie’s life, so that she can live her dream of becoming a doctor. Though she dropped out of primary school in her final year, we pray that she returns one day to sit her PSLE and proceed to enjoy life to the fullest. Finally, just as we pat ourselves on the back, we also appeal that this form of unity in compassion spreads and takes root in our homeland. We have to remember that a disaster that hits one hits all.