Botswana: Kesaolopa Hails Programme

Serowe — An individual that is impaired by a disability has potential to do most things, if not all, that one without impairment can do, leading to the adage: disability is not inability.

When one looks around in communities to identify people living with disabilities who have realised their potential, they could be few.

It is, however, pleasing to note that the tide is turning and more and more people living with disabilities are making head way.

One such is 32-year-old Mr Olerato Kesaolopa of Sebinanyana ward in Serowe, who took advantage of the Poverty Eradication Programme

Mr Kesaolopa said, through the programme, he was able to supply Tswana chickens to other poverty eradication programme beneficiaries.

He said his clientele also included some shops and individuals.

He was identified, trained and assisted with 25 Tswana chickens in 2013 and his project has been progressing well.

Mr Kesaolopa, who stays with his mother, said after completing his Form 3, he became a burden to his mother because he was unemployed, even though his disability did not prevent him from doing some jobs.

He said he spent some years just idling at home without a job, despite his efforts to find one.

With passion and interest for rearing Tswana chickens, he said he was ready to take on the project.

Mr Kesaolopa said he intended to expand his chicken shelter and rear Upington chickens.

He said the main challenge was shortage of land to expand his business, noting that in 2017, about 14 chickens died after they drank poison because he practiced free range system, while others were killed by stray dogs.

He said his project was an enabler for him to play a significant role in the economic diversification of the country.

Mr Kesaolopa noted that people should appreciate the programme, adding that it was a deliberate effort by government to enable the community to have decent livelihoods.

Although many youths were disillusioned about the level of unemployment in the country, some residents were earning a living through some of the beneficiaries' Tswana chickens production businesses.

The move, he said, was yielding results since some beneficiaries had been awarded tenders to supply institutions and businesses, in an endeavour to promote the economic development of the sub-district.

He said to be eligible for the programme, one had to demonstrate lack of basic needs and go through an assessment by the social services and welfare departments.

"Monthly monitoring has revealed that beneficiaries are able to sustain themselves and their families through purchasing of food and payment of school fees. This is a point worth noting, as now the beneficiaries are no longer dependent on government for their livelihoods," Mr Kesaolopa said.

The eligibility criteria for poverty eradication programme was derived from the Revised National Policy on Destitute Persons of July 2002 and the Poverty Eradication Guidelines for 2013 and 2014.

The revised national policy and the poverty eradication guidelines set the eligibility parameters that beneficiaries should be Batswana aged 16 years and above who are destitute.

Source : BOPA

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