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Thuto Boswa centre A ray of hope

20 Apr 2022

Mr Lefika Keosaletse is unstoppable in his quest for success. 

Diagnosed with an intellectual disability and dyslexia at 14, the second year leatherworks student is determined not to let his condition stand in his way of becoming an entrepreneur. 

He is confident that the knowledge he acquired at Thuto Boswa Rehabilitation Centre would come in handy.

He was diagnosed while a learner at Lesetlhana Primary School in Ramotswa, after a recommendation from his teachers that he be seen by an educational psychologist because he was under performing. 

What the teachers suspected was confirmed but that did not dampen Mr Keosaletse’s spirits. Nothing and certainly not his condition was going to stand in his way of getting training that would allow him to be his own boss. 

The 20 year-old fancies owning a modelling agency that would help market his leather products once he is done with studies. 

Not surprising because Mr Keosaletse is a total artist with a knack for videography as well. His drive to become self-employed gains traction with each passing day and he is well aware that the line he has chosen requires creativity and ingenuity. 

He says he has learnt to trust his instincts and believes the sky is the limit. Mr Keosaletse regards Thuto Boswa Rehabilitation Centre a home away from home, a nourishing environment that enabled him to develop skills, regardless of his disability. 

Established 41 years ago when there were few of its kind, the centre offers vocational training, life skills and physical training for learners aged 16 to 35 in a creative and  stimulating environment. 

It offers three programmes, dressmaking and horticulture which are Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA) accredited and leatherworks which is in the process of being accrediting. 

The centre’s executive director, Ms Gosego Mmeanyana says Thuto Boswa was established in Ramotswa in 1981 by the Camp Hill Trust, as a Non-Governmental Organisation affiliated to Botswana Council for the Disabled. 

“It offers young children and youth living with intellectual disabilities and physical disabilities a learning and empowering environment. It also offers education to special needs children from primary schools who could not proceed to secondary schools due to learning difficulties,” states Ms Mmeanyana. 

Programmes offered take three years but a leaner can take longer or less time, depending on their ability to grasp concepts. 

Most leaners have dyslexia, a learning disability characterised by reading and writing difficulties and dysgraphia, a disorder that affects one’s writing ability, Ms Mmeanyana says, adding that some live with intellectual disabilities as Downs Syndrome and mental retardation and cannot be absorbed by mainstream education. 

Ms Mmeanyana says some of their graduates are doing well and own businesses while some are employed. 

She says the school’s main source of income is government and companies are encouraged to sponsor, but ever since Botswana was declared a middle income country and the COVID-19 pandemic, there has not been enough financial support and that has made it difficult to hire professionals able to deal with learners with special needs and such is worsened by the fact that the said professionals are in short supply. 

Ms Mmeanyana’s wish is for the country to have a well-established facility equipped with professionals who offers care and full support to people with special needs. 

The institution’s training coordinator, Ms Lesego Ntalagwe said the school is able to sell some projects for an income.ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Gofiwa Marope

Location : RAMOTSWA

Event : Interview

Date : 20 Apr 2022