A group of adventurous Tour guides who reside in Maun, James Stenner, Roger Dugmore, John Barclay, David Dugmore, Maika Kretschmer, Kyle Human and Corlize Viljoen have embarked on 12 days self-funded canoe traversing 350 kilometers of the Okavango river system.
The aim of this expedition is to raise funds for Bana Ba Letsatsi which is a haven for vulnerable in the Maun community, striving to rehabilitate them back into schools and society. In an interview with James Stenner the fundraising organizer he said the team of seven set off Saturday morning from sanekona settlement to somewhere after a bridge in Mopipi where the water stops flowing. “On a ten-day river challenge that will find us navigating our way through hippos, crocodiles and elephants along the way, so this adventure is by no means for the feint hearted ,” he said.
He said they are now 145kilometres away from Maun in Moremaoto village about 122 kilometres from Mopipi. He added that they have so far raised about £4,896 out of their £10,000 target about P72 167.4. Bana Ba Letsatsi Trust was established in December 2002 in response to the growing number of children at risk in Maun, the organisation aims to keep orphans and vulnerable children off the streets and away from negative influences.
Executive Coordinator of Bana ba Letsatsi, Taboka Rotsi stated Bana Ba Letsatsi Trust is currently financially challenged due to the impact of corona virus as it mostly depended on the tourism sector for funding. ‘The closure of boarders made projects of the trust to come to a standstill due to lack of tourist, she said.
Taboka Rotsi revealed that they have lost about P2.1million from pledges that people made. She explained that 55 percent of the funds which used to carry out day to day activities at the center were made from the tourist industry in Maun. She said Covid 19 has slowed down daily proceedings at the center as they had to lay off some staff remembers therefore the canoeing fundraiser will help them to kick start. Rotsi explained that money obtained from the fundraiser will help in activities such as feeding, transporting and home checks.
She added that home checks are important as most of their beneficiaries are vulnerable to abuse, and this has been evident as Covid 19 pandemic saw an increase in cases of defilement nationwide.