The future of over 500 orphans living in the SOS villages around the country hangs in the balance as the non-profit organisations’ finances have run dry.
SOS board chairman Major General Bakwena Oitsile has told this publication that the organisation needs to raise P10 million in order to keep the three villages afloat.
‘’Our budget for a year is P19 million and we requested P12 million from our foreign donors but they told us that they cannot afford it and gave us P9 million which means we have to raise P10 million locally.’’ General Bakwena said that the government has also cut their grant to P1.5 million.
The highest amount that government gave them was P3.3 million in 2006, since then the amount has been reduced. He said that they would have no choice but to retrench some of their 167 staff members and stop enrolling more orphans to the villages as it would not be sustainable.
SOS also runs the Family Strengthening Programme (FSP), which has 1500 children, who come to the villages on daily basis. Asked if they would close some of the villages if the situation worsens, General Bakwena said that if it goes to that extent they would have no option but to close shop. While he appreciated that most companies in Botswana are queuing up at the Presidential housing appeal,Bakwena stressed that it is also important for them to consider the future of the orphans and vulnerable children.
‘’What they are doing is commendable, but I think they should also turn their eyes to these vulnerable children.’’ General Bakwena said that 60% of their budget goes to programs they offer in the three villages, while 40% is used for feeding the children and paying utilities as well as workers.