Botswana Orphanage in Funding Crunch

13/10/2011 - An orphanage in Botswana received vital funds to keep its doors open after the departure of a major donor.

The African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Programme (ACHAP) had given new funding to the House of Hope Centre for Orphans, an orphanage in Botswana facing closure due to dwindling donations.

The orphanage, located in Palapye, is home to 85 orphaned children. When its main donor departed, the facility came to the brink of closure. The orphanage’s contract with ACHAP terminates at the end of the month. However, negotiations are currently underway to extend it.

"We lost key personnel and we are currently running without a coordinator, social worker and project officer due to donor fatigue,” said House of Hope acting coordinator, Thamsanqa Metsing.

Donations from the Kingdom Embassy Church and Mokungwana Batloung Church helped the centre stay afloat. Meanwhile, radio station, Yarona FM, donated winter clothes for the children to wear. Ever busy, the centre has conducted fundraising events to earn funds for its operation.

“We, however, remain optimistic that a good Samaritan somewhere will hear about our plight and donate so that we can continue to provide care and support to the less fortunate people in our society,” said Mr. Metsing.

As Botswana is regarded as a middle-income country, non-profit organizations such as House of Hope, are not a priority for international donors. The World Bank classifies Botswana as an “upper middle income country,” Despite such perceptions and classifications, 31 per cent of people were reported to be living under the poverty line of $1.25 per day (averaged over 1994-2008).

According to statistics published by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, Botswana is home to 320,000 people living with HIV. The adult prevalence rate is 24.8 per cent, among the highest in the world. Some 16,000 children under the age of 14 have been infected with HIV and 93,000 children have lost one or both of their parents to AIDS-related illnesses.

The country has seen improvements in the situation of HIV/AIDS. According to the Botswana AIDS Impact Survey, the expansion of the national provision of antiretroviral therapies (ART) has increased coverage to more than 80 per cent of patients needing treatment. Not only has this expansion cut AIDS-related deaths by a half, but it has – by extension – reduced the number of new orphans by a half, too.

Botswana is also encouraging men and male children to get circumcised. Circumcision is not widely prevalent in Botswana, but re-entered the conversation about AIDS when shown to reduce the risk of men contracting the virus by as much as 50-60 per cent.