Bana Ba Ditlou (BaBaDi) - in Setswana (national language of Botswana) means "Children of the Elephants".
It is the name of a social project taking care of children who have no fathers, who have single, often irresponsible young mothers, whose parents have no jobs, who drink in desperation, whose parents die of AIDS, whose parents don't care,or don't know how to care, who abandon their children, who don't give them enough food and clothing, who push their children to become "street-kids" - dodging school or failing in school; children infected with the HIV, children going hungry, frustrated, angry, trying drugs, even being involved in criminal activities and prostitution, being sexually abused ... but constantly seeking love and attention, looking for quality time and dreams of better future.
Unfortunately, there are so many of them in Kasane.
Because Kasane is famous worldwide for its largest herds of elephants on the planet, the project Name is Bana Ba Ditlou.
Bana Ba Ditlou project is a response of the Catholic Community to the growing problem of orphaned, hungry, neglected, malnourished, abused, HIV infected, dying of AIDS and otherwise vulnerable children of the town of Kasane and the Chobe area.
Finally, towards the end of 2009, the idea reached a degree of clarity and maturity needed for further fundraising activities and establishing of the project. They felt that the original idea of a feeding centre for children has to be expanded by providing activities for them together with other ways of keeping them "out of trouble, street life and idleness", accompanied with various forms of psycho-social support. They would like to stimulate the children in educative and creative ways to enhance their development and chances for a successful future.
The Team of Bana Ba Ditlou continue to develop the idea and they hope that the BaBaDi project will take the final shape in 2010. They also hope that they will be able to secure funding for the construction of the facilities and conclude the building as soon as possible in 2010.
Mission and Idea
Bana Ba Ditlou wants to make a positive lasting difference in the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable children through psycho-social support and creative stimulating activities, enhancing their dignity and self-esteem rooted in Christian moral values.
They main aim is to help the pre-school children and primary school children. In the future we might develop a special project for the youth.
The hungry and malnourished children will be provided with food. When not in school, they want to provide creative activities for children, keeping them busy, inspiring, stimulating and developing them, and keeping them out of streets, trouble, abuse and antisocial behaviour.
The Team would like to see them growing into responsible, good and dignified people; believing in themselves, and ultimately managing well their lives; getting jobs in the lucrative tourism and safari industry; becoming good and responsible parents, wives and husbands, artisans and artists. Tey would like them to become mature Christians of the future HIV-free generation.
CONSERVATION & Bana Ba Ditlou
Botswana is one of the few remaining places in Africa with vast areas of incredible wilderness and wildlife. It is a treasure that many people from around the world come to see. The country became one of the prime safari destinations with booming tourism industry. And yet, on the fringes of this areas there are people, whom most of the visitors would never see, people of this country, owners and custodians of those wonders of nature.
However, many of them still do not benefit from the opportunities around them, especially many young people - out of school, unemployed, living in poverty and desperation, sometimes pushing them into prostitution, crime, alcohol and drug abuse, sexual irresponsibility and so often HIV-AIDS.
The true victims of this situation are children.
Most of them have never been to the national parks to see their fascinating animals. So, why should they care about them, they are dangerous, they are for the rich and visitors...
The Team of Bana Ba Di recognized already some years ago that true conservation efforts must be always accompanied by social and development efforts among the local population.
By helping the children Bana Ba Di is doing a long term conservation work, especially if they help them to see the value of their animals, if they help them to own them and to appreciate them - among others, as a treasure and asset that might help many of them to have job in the future in the lucrative tourism industry and necessary supporting services.
Bana Ba Di wants to expose the children to the beauty of nature as an aesthetic value and not just dangerous threatening reality and potential source of bush meat. They dream that some of the children would become best safari guides, biologists, ornithologists, herpetologists, officials of Wildlife Department, nature photographers and filmmakers.
Bana Ba Di believes, there is no better way to ensure the success of long term conservation of natural resources in Botswana, in Africa.