Shirley Madikwe – Botswana

Shirley Madikwe – Botswana

Date: June 30, 2015
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I once met a young boy at the station; it was during winter time. He came to me and asked for 5 pula. I said to him I couldn’t give it to him, because he would buy glue for sniffing. But I looked at him, and he was so young. I said, let me go to the shop and buy you a piece of bread. He didn’t even have a jersey. I went to a shop next door, and got him a track suit, and shoes. By that time, I was so touched, I took him home and gave him a bath. I found out that he was an orphan, and he didn’t have any extended family. The way his was treated was so bad; I thought, I don’t want to see that happen to anybody.

That experience set me on the path to open Gamodubu Care Trust. We work to help orphans and the vulnerable. Children who live with and are affected by HIV/AIDs. Some children are abused by their families, or neglected by their parents. We take responsibility for these children, and we show to the world how strong love is. All children need love.

I am so grateful, when I see children doing well in school. I know these same children couldn’t even sit through a class before, succeeding in second and third grade. They are enjoying the challenge, and doing homework. I want to see them go even further; to take the love that we give them, and go forward in the world. I see them eating a good meal, playing on the playground; they don’t remember the challenges. They keep our love with them.

We rely on the government to support our work. However, we started working with Gender Links a year ago, and this is opening doors for us. We managed to take the runner up prize at the summit. This recognition of our work is very important, for our own encouragement. We also learn so much by connecting with people who are doing other work. It expands our horizons, and gives us room to shine.

It also gives me strong aspirations for the future; in Johannesburg, I saw that so many things were possible. I want to see Gamodubu changing, and shining. I want to see what we can offer the village, and what the village can offer us. We need to build strong communities for children to thrive.

There are many things we still need; and the more we grow, the more we are reflecting the crisis in the world. Teenage pregnancy is a huge problem in our community. Then these children aren’t looked after. People in our communities are dying; there is HIV/AIDs, poverty, gender based violence, neglect of disability, so many threats. But I have said everyone in my community is my responsibility, and I am working with committed people who feel the same way. I know that way, one person at a time, we are making a difference.


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