In a recent gesture of empathy, the with the less fortunate of our society, the Hogs Rugby team made a beeline for Tlamelong Rehabilitation Centre in Tlokweng, where they donated goodies and prepared food for the inmates there. The centre is a nonprofit making organisation that depends on donations and was built by the Botswana Red Cross in 1974 to improve the lives of people living with disabilities.
30 year Omphile Diphemelo who has been at the centre for the past two years and Gaofengwe Isaiah said they felt touched by the visit from the women’s rugby team and the gesture they demonstrated. “We are very happy for the rugby team because they were able to come here and show that disability isn’t inability. Especially the team members who just gave inspirational speeches and showed us that we are the same as the rest of the people. We breathe the same air, said Isaiah. She was also grateful for having a centre coordinator Lerato Motlhagodi who they all agreed had a strong personality and was of good standing.
Motlhagodi in her interview with Woman to Woman magazine said the day was different in that the trainees at the centre really needed to be treated as part of the larger community of Botswana, despite coming from diverse backgrounds, communities and in different forms of disability.
A pledge was also made by the Hogs Rugby Chairman, Johan Beukes who was accompanied by his wife to refurbish the floor tiles of the dining hall. She said the work that she was doing working at the centre needed someone with a “humanitarian heart. My stay here has helped me to accept the disabled and see the capabilities that they have, this has gone to make them as different people.”
The Hogs ladies rugby captain who spearheaded the initiative said the day was long in the planning. “We always believed something needed to be done for a centre like this, that’s why we ended up summoning our resources and the ladies team found it fit to spend a day with the residents and trainees at this centre. We need to give these kids some reason to love life as well as show that we celebrate Batswana despite their challenges.”
Kenneth, Kwinje, who is the secretary of the club committee and was part of the entourage that descended at the centre said more trips of this nature needed to be made frequently. “We need to keep checking on these people, we need not stop what we have started, however, we will keep improving on the type of assistance that we render here with each trip,” he added.
The ladies team spent the Saturday cooking for the trainees, also provided the ladies with some sanitary pads and bars of soap for the boys. They also took time to teach the students the game of rugby and took part in other traditional games as well. The centre has close to 20 people from far and near and they are learning a host of skills that include sewing, agriculture and educational studies.