source: Republic of Botswana TAUTONA TIMES of 15/8/2010
The Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
"Democracy, Development, Dignity, Discipline and Delivery"
B3) 14/8/10: KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY HIS HONOUR, LT. GEN. MOMPATI S. MERAFHE, MP, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF BOTSWANA AT A FUNDRAISING DINNER FOR MOCHUDI RESOURCE CENTRE FOR THE BLIND
Director of Ceremonies,
My Colleague and good friend, Minister of Defence, Justice and Security and Patron of the Mochudi Resource Centre for the Blind, Hon. Dikgakgamatso Seretse,
The Chairperson and Board of Governors of the Centre,
Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. I must admit that when I received an invitation from your Patron, Honourable Minister Seretse, to officiate at this auspicious occasion, I was elated, even though, I had an equally demanding programme during the day. Just for the record, I had to attend the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) retreat earlier today. And I must say it has been a long day!
2. I am fully aware that most of you here this evening have equally been engaged in various activities during the course of the day. It is for this reason, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, that my remarks will be relatively short so that I can finish talking before you finish listening!
3. Put succinctly, distinguished guests, I am greatly honoured to be here this evening to contribute towards this noble cause. At a time when some organizations solely embark on fundraising activities to interact with the communities they serve, it is also important to remember that there are others, which have more challenges that need our support.
4. I am referring to organizations like the Mochudi Resource Centre for the Blind, which, in short, are in need of our assistance than ever before. Their major and immediate effort should be directed towards raising an amount of P 13 million for the envisaged fully fledged rehabilitation centre, as espoused by the Mochudi Resource Centre for the Blind.
5. Most attention has, in the past, been given to activities such as sponsored walks and raffles, as means of fundraising. These tend, after all, to be more interesting, and of course, confined to social interactions. But in the process, they fall short of achieving the desired objectives. Therefore, these numerous sponsored walks and raffles will have to be augmented if our organizations are ever to have enough resources to deal with the administrative and financial constraints.
6. As Government, we are appreciative of efforts being made by organizations like the Mochudi Resource Centre for the Blind in providing services to Batswana, which will go a long way in contributing to the socio-economic development of this country. To this end, our Ministry of Health and that of Education and Skills Development have been supportive to the Centre, providing funds on an annual basis.
7. During the 2010/2011 Financial year, the Ministry of Health assisted the Centre with an amount of One Million Three Hundred and Twenty Seven Thousand, Seven Hundred and Forty Eight Pula (P 1 327, 748.00), while the Ministry of Education and Skills Development has provided an amount of One Hundred and Sixty Six Thousand and Seventy Pula (P 166, 070.00).
8. You will be pleased to know, distinguished guests, that Government has demonstrated its commitment to the welfare of the child by the adoption of the Children's Act of 2009, which includes a Bill of Child's Rights. As you are aware, the Bill of Child's Rights guarantees children, amongst others, the Right to life, Right to protection, Right to health and education. We therefore encourage you to continue providing all the necessary support to Government's efforts to assist the vulnerable groups, including children with disabilities.
9. Distinguished guests, I am also informed that the Office of the Coordinator of People with Disabilities has so far secured employment opportunities for more than 30 people with disabilities. This is in spite of the fact that the Office is said to be grappling with challenges related to access to education, information, physical structures, medical and equipment for rehabilitation.
10. Government recognizes the important role played by all citizens in the overall development of this country. In this regard, we have every reason to be optimistic about the key role this Centre will play in our collaborative efforts of transforming Botswana into a knowledge-based economy.
11. Distinguished guests, I am informed that the Mochudi Resource Centre for the Blind is providing rehabilitation services to a team of 55 visually impaired children from all over the country. I note with satisfaction, the theme for this fundraising dinner, which reads: "Making Vision 2016 Inclusive of People with Disabilities". This theme aptly captures the essence of our nation's determination to assist and support our families and friends with disabilities, in line with one of the pillars of Vision 2016 of "A Compassionate, Just and Caring Nation". I have also noted some of the challenges faced by the Centre such as limited funds, shortage of staff and other resources.
12. Let me once again, distinguished guests, appeal to the private sector and the general public to extend a helping hand, which will, in no small measure, address the growing needs of the Centre. It is without doubt that your act of generosity will greatly make a difference in so many lives and provide for future posterity. On this note, I wish to officially launch the Fundraising activities of the Mochudi Resource Centre for the Blind.
I thank you. PULA!