Hi there and welcome to our page! Thanks for taking the time to watch our video—well, assuming that you did. We are so excited to launch this campaign and want you to be as excited as we are, but before we get started, we figured that you might have a few questions for us.
First of all, who are you guys and why are you in Botswana?
Ah, we saw this one coming-- people usually like to know who they’re talking to. Well, I’m Rosa, and Lauren here is reading this over my shoulder giving out the occasional approving nod. We are both students from the University of Pennsylvania. Lauren likes long walks on the beach, talking about her feelings, and talking about her feelings while I enjoy high choloric foods, rap music played too loudly, and surprisingly, water color paintings. (Lauren nods approvingly) While we do not seem like the ideal pair, we share one really important thing: our tendancy to take risks. Which brings us to, “why are you in Botswana?”
On a whim, we applied for summer internships in Botswana through the Botswana-UPenn Partnership. (Sorry I’m saying Botswana so much). When we got the jobs, along with our 12 other interns and new best friends, we both had our hesitations. With worried parents, long flights, slightly empty college bank accounts, and the general unknown, we were unsure. But we are so glad we came.
Great, Tell me more about these internships?
We are working at an amazing preschool called The Kamogelo Orphan and Vulnerable Project. However, to merely call it a preschool is a little bit of an injustice as it does so much more. Kamogelo services needy children free of charge who have been either orphaned or deeply affected by HIV/AIDS and/or poverty. Although our primary mission is education, we also give our kids food, clothing, and better access to medical care. However, maybe most importantly of all, Kamogelo acts as a safe place where they can, even if only for a little while, count on everything being okay.
While we originally thought we might become glorified baby sitters at Kamogelo, we quickly realized that there were some much bigger needs at hand. We found that kids were wearing worn out shoes and ripped clothing, that food prices were increasing daily, and that transportation was amazingly expensive. While we knew our kids were disadvantaged, we didn’t understand how in need they truly were. To give you a sense of the situation here, to qualify as a student, children either have to be orphans or their entire family income has to be under 400 Pula a month, roughly less than 2 dollars a day. As you can imagine this doesn’t go very far with many families having three, four, sometimes even five children.
Where are these kids coming from?
For those who don’t know that much about Botswana, it has the second highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the world with 25% of the population living HIV positive. While over the past 20 years the situation has greatly improved, with less people both contracting and dying of HIV/AIDS, it is still a very real problem. As some of the people here say, “You are either infected or affected by HIV.” This is exactly why Kamogelo was started. In more recent years, Kamgelo has also branched out to help local children living in poverty. Whether their situation is because of an absent parent, a bad economy, or simply a lack of resources, we find it so important to help these children too.
Well that does sound important, but where exactly is my money going?
Great question. At Kamogelo, we pride ourselves on giving kids not only a great education, but also other services that they otherwise wouldn’t receive. For example, for many of our children the 2 meals they eat here are the only food they get a day. However, as we have come to see, it is always a struggle, especially in recent years, to provide these humble services. Every year there is a huge deficit between the donations we receive and the money it would take to function at our best.
We have 2 donors— one is a private donor and the other is the local Catholic Church. The private donor pays for the majority of our staff salaries and the Catholic Commission helps us pay incoming bills. In other words, your money will only be going towards giving the children a better life. We just want to do a few simple things. We want to be able to give our children clean clothes. We want to see them eat more vegetables. We want to throw out our collection of old headless Barbies and replace them with new favorite toys.
After this is out of the way, we have some bigger ideas. We are currently looking into solar power and gardening to help us become more sustainable. Yes, we want to give Kamogelo one great year, but we also want to keep helping so they can have many more good years in the future. (approving nod). We want to help Kamogelo do more than be able to just survive.
You do realize this is an insanely large amount, right?
Yes. We do. But we think Kamogelo is worth it.
Hopefully we have answered all of your questions. I at least think we have (approving nod). Please help us by not only donating, but by spreading the word! Though you are probably too far away to talk to Lauren about her feelings or to eat a donut with me, we invite you to get you a little crazy with us anyways.
The Campaign for Kamogelo, let’s go.