An elusive but basic need

Home is where the heart is: Shelter is still elusive for some Batswana
Home is where the heart is: Shelter is still elusive for some Batswana

Have you ever asked yourself what you could do with that money you buy a quart of beer or that dumpie of alcohol as many call it? Or that heap of a meal that you will not even finish or that dress you will never wear? Mmegi Correspondent, NNASARETHA KGAMANYANE reports on the search for shelter

This is a question that we have to ask ourselves.  It is true that we tend to spend more money than we need to on things that are not really important in our lives. 

We waste a lot of money on things that cannot change our lives or our neighbours’. Maybe its because our lifestyles have changed or we need to change our mindsets and start looking at things with a different eye.

John Carroll, an American resident and founder of John Carroll Foundation Africa is one of the few people who have people’s interests at heart. Recently, Carroll handed over a three-roomed house to 23-year-old Neo Busani in Tsolamosese.

“It has always been my belief that each person has the ability to help those who have less. Whether it be a time when you give a word of encouragement, a hug if needed, or something that says I care,” he said confidently.

Carroll who has built a number of houses countrywide said that he had found it important to put a roof over people’s heads in Africa.

“I have built a couple of houses in Botswana and other African countries.  I believe that everyone deserves to have a decent place to call home, a place where children can be brought up well.  My foundation intends to build more houses in the country,” he said.

Like others, Carroll said he was responding to President Ian Khama’s housing appeal initiative that called on companies, individuals and other stakeholders to build a house for underprivileged people in the society.

He said he works closely with social workers that identify people who are in great need of shelter then meets with the family and builds a house.

Carroll explained that he was touched when he heard Busani’s story and felt that he really had to help her. “I was told that Busani’s boyfriend died of cancer when she was pregnant. I learnt that he died before he could finish building her that house and it had to be finished.  I felt that it was in a bad shape so I decided to build her a new house,” he said pointing at the old house. He explained that he felt sympathetic towards the young widow and her two children as they needed more help than just food and shelter.

He added that the foundation did not only provide shelter, but supported affected families with food for a year giving family members a chance to recover from poverty and find better ways of earning an income.

Carroll added that he was ready to build more houses for needy Batswana as his foundation had enough funds to change a few more lives.

He said his inspiration came a few years ago in Afghanistan when he was serving in the US Marines. He indicated that the sight of people being killed and houses being burnt had subliminally triggered the concept.

“But had somebody told me at the time that I would be doing this kind of work a few years down the line I would not have believed it,” he said.

According to an overwhelmed Busani, she had lost words on what to say about her blessing. She could not stop thanking the foundation for building a decent house for her and her sons aged one (and a few months) and four years.

“My children’s father died in 2013 when I was still pregnant with our last born.  I was devastated when he died, as I did not know how I was going to live without him.

I was scared of what would happen to us (her and the children), as he was the breadwinner. I gave up as I thought I was going to live in this house forever,” she said pointing at the unfinished two rooms.

She said that even though she was not married, her boyfriend’s family gave her children the yard as she had been living with their son and cared for him through thick and thin.

Busani was staying with her children in a room that was not plastered and seemed very old. She thanked the Office of President (OP) for choosing her amongst other underprivileged people.

She called on Batswana and business people to bring a smile on other people’s faces like Carroll had done for her.

“There is nothing that brings peace of mind like knowing that you have a decent house to groom your children and have a good meal on the table everyday,” she added.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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