Janusz Prud, is a Polish SVD (Divine World Missionary brother) living in Botswana. In a village in which he had been residing for the last two years he decided to build up a nursery. This is what he says about the idea:
In the 1990s HIV/AIDS epidemic became an African tragedy but most importantly a challenge to combat disease and to aid its victims. Botswana is one of the countries suffering the most from the epidemic. Circa 37% of the 1.6 million inhabitants are HIV careers. In the 1990s Botswana was occupying first place on the world list of infections and mortalities caused by AIDS. The number of orphans is growing rapidly. Statistic data from 2006 shows that 140 thousand of children in the range age 0-14 lives with HIV. At the same time, the number of children who due to AIDS lost at least one of their parents reached the number of 120 thousand. Deaths resulting from AIDS amounted to 180 thousand.
It is important to notice that the orphan issue had been nothing new to the local community. Yet, their number – growing so rapidly – became a problem which is difficult to understand and to accept by the traditional society of Botswana. Families, which in the past had been responsible for fostering orphans, in the face of the AIDS epidemic, have strong difficulties – both moral and financial – with taking care over growing number of children. Often elderly who themselves require assistance become the only caregiver for a number of children.
The project of building nursery and running an orphans’ daycare aims to assist children in obtaining good education both in the local language and in English – an official language of Botswana. It is especially important to teach English from the very early age, as schooling at all levels is provided in that language. In the area where the project is situated people are usually using local languages: Kalanga and Setswana. In Tutume, with its population of 14 thousand, there are only few nurseries. Usually they offer education in local languages.
The project objective is to offer appropriate educational conditions, food provisions and care for orphans as well as children coming from the “high risk families”. In line with the governmental recommendation the nursery will have integrating character – it will be attended by children coming from full families as well as orphans and half-orphans. Governmental strategy for combating HIV/AIDS includes building nursery institutions in order to prevent isolation of children disadvantage by the disease. The priority is to involve representatives of local communities (for instance local teachers) in the provision of daycare. Through this, children will have ensured contact with a local culture and tradition. In African context building European style orphanages is not recommended as it contradicts local values.
We assisted brother Janusz with writing a successful application for the Polish MFA Small Grants Fund. The application was made through the Polish Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa. It received funding required and the nursery is already built!