The Struggles Of An Orphan

FRANCISTOWN: She wakes up everyday with absolutely no clue as to what she is going to eat or how she is going to wash her baby without bath soap or washing powder.

The first thing one senses when entering this home is the loneliness that runs the home. It is obvious that she has no much hope for the future. At the tender age of 19, some people only have to wonder how life would be if they did not have their BMW or their penthouse but others have to wonder what they are going to eat or what their children are going to eat - and that is a fact.
Tshebeletso Isaac, a 19-year-old orphan who resides in Block One, has a sad story to tell. Isaac is a single mother of a three-month-old baby and has barely anything to call her own.
As soon as one enters the yard, she looks up with the hope that the visitor could be having good news. It would be hard to believe that anyone stays there unless you saw somebody.
The baby is supposed to be given milk formula from the clinic but that is all about to be shattered, she tells Monitor.
"They are saying that this month when the baby turns four months old, they will stop giving me the milk because I do not have an Omang. They said if I didn't bring Omang or receipt, I would not get the milk."
Isaac says that she has no idea what she is going to do for the baby should that happen.
In an exclusive interview with Monitor, she revealed that she had been struggling to get the national identity card for a long time.
Isaac stays with 12 other people in the home but none of them has any means of earning money. Unfortunately, the Omang struggle is a sad reality for some members of this poverty-stricken family. This family comprises cousins who live in their late grandmother's home.
Isaac said she has not seen the father of her child in a long time and so she cannot depend on him to at least help support the child.
"People have told me that he has gone to his home village. Since I have been in the house with the baby I have not seen him. If I don't get my Omang card my child will suffer because she will have no milk this month," she said.
That seems to be only one out of the many problems she is facing as she says that since last year she has not been getting food rations anymore because she has reached the age of 18.
"Right now I really have nowhere to look to except to depend on my cousin. Ke ene a nthekelang phaletshe. If I had an Omang card I would have been helping my cousin who is supporting me now," she added.
Isaac says that the identity card ordeal is hindering her from getting some services that she is entitled to from the government.
It seems this situation has been going on for a long time but it has not been going on unnoticed..
"Habitat for Humanity built us this house. It was around 1999 when my grandmother and uncle were still alive," she stated. She bows her head in sadness as if to avoid eye contact when she talks about her grandmother and uncle's deaths.
Francistown City Council (FCC) has confirmed that they are aware of the situation at that home. Phase IV social worker, who is responsible for helping this family, Lesedi Selogelo, says that they are trying to at least get them Omang cards.
She says that the only family members who have Omang are those that applied when the grandmother was still alive.
She said at one point they even invited those with Omang to go with them to the District Commissioner's office and maybe the DC would help but they refused.
Selogelo further told Monitor that the other problem is that there is too much alcohol consumption going on in the home and that does not help the problem. She said that they even found it critical to send the younger children to SOS.
When Monitor caught up with the councillor for that area, Alec Tabengwa, he said that he was dealing with the social welfare as we spoke because the matter was becoming crucial to their (Isaacs) lives.
He says that Isaac was young when the others obtained their cards and now they are having a problem locating a relative who could help them. He stated that they were treating this issue as urgent.
Tabengwa said the situation was grave and he was pressuring the head office to help find a solution. Statistics since the beginning of last month show that Phase IV Catchment Area, which includes Block One, has 392 male orphans, 298 female orphans, 46 male destitute and 74 female destitute persons. The council is also responsible for Home Based Care patients and needy students.
Selogelo said there are 31 males for home based care, 49 females and as for needy students, there are 72 males and 80 females recorded with the FCC since the beginning of last month.

 

Editor's Comment
Everyone should be on high alert

Close to half a million people in the country have been fully vaccinated while over 800,000 have received their first doses. Botswana has tackled tough hurdles, but the race is far from over.Batswana are gearing up for the holidays and there will be a lot of movement across the country and outside the country. Social gatherings are back in full force and now more than ever, people should observe COVID-19 protocols.Our neighbouring country South...

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