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Women make a difference

Women make a difference
Home away from Home. Ladies circle accommodation for cancer patients

Ladies Circle Botswana raise funds for cancer care home

In a bleak time such as this, Voice Woman celebrates the month of love by shining a spotlight on Ladies Circle Botswana (LCB) as they continue to extend charity and benevolence to others.

The association, whose membership of like-minded ladies aged between 18 and 45 – from various backgrounds – has raised funds to build an interim care home for childhood cancer patients and their caregivers in Block 8, Gaborone, which they aptly named ‘Happy Hearts Home’.

With their motto ‘Friendship and Service’, the organisation’s Chairperson (LCB 3), Sharon Munyoro, explains that LCB was formed in March 1980 and is part of Ladies Circle International (LCI), which will celebrate its 91st anniversary on 11th February.

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CIRCLE CHAIR: Sharon Munyoro

The ‘non-political and non-sectarian’ international body was formed by the wives of Round Table International (RTI) in 1930 and seeks to, “Promote international friendship, understanding, and goodwill by encouraging members to extend their knowledge of each other and other people. To promote, coordinate and develop the extension of Ladies Circle throughout the world” among other objectives.

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MEMBERS: Ladies attending international AGM in Rotterdam, Holland in 2019

After working with the Cancer Association Botswana (CAB) for years and having supported cancer initiatives, LCB has swiftly stepped in to build a facility for remote-dwelling young cancer fighters (and their caregivers), who have to travel long distances to access treatment at Princess Marina Hospital, the main treatment centre in Gaborone.

This after they learned of the plight of a young boy who had complications while traveling over 1000km back home after treatment.

“With the understanding that there are limited beds for pediatrics, that CAB had undeveloped land in Block 8 and that cancer treatment is essentially done in Gaborone; we undertook the mammoth task of building an interim home for childhood cancer and found it fitting to call it ‘Happy Hearts Home’,” Munyoro explains.

To ensure that Happy Hearts Home would be sustainable and benefit the right people, LCB is in partnership with CAB as a beneficiary, as well as the Ministry of Health and Wellness and various technical partners who volunteered their expertise and time.

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In their fundraising activities, their main donors include the parent body, Ladies Circle International, Boitumelo Foundation, Gaborone Private Hospital, Liberty Life Botswana, Letshego Holdings Limited, Dance for Change, and Grant Thornton Botswana.

Munyoro says several other companies and individuals have attended and sponsored their fundraising events such as the gala dinner graced by President Dr. M.E.K. Masisi, which was held in 2018, as well as the High Tea that was honoured by former Minister of Health, Professor Sheila Tlou.

Completion of Happy Hearts Home might be delayed due to Covid-19, unfortunately, but Munyoro remains hopeful.

“We have two or three envisioned blocks almost complete and hope to hand over two complete blocks in March 2021,” she says, adding, “Our main challenge has been the limited interaction with potential donors and the inability to host fundraising activities towards the completion of Happy Hearts Home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Notably, LCB has in the past supported various organisations with projects such as the Bana ba Metsi Project in Shakawe, the provision of equipment and machinery for neo-natal wards at Deborah Retief Memorial Hospital in Mochudi, as well as financial support for the development of ablution blocks for Women’s Shelter, just to mention a few.

“We appreciate every opportunity we get to serve in our community and, through friendship, we have been able to gain the support of institutions and individuals to make the lives of the vulnerable and less privileged a little better. Remember to “be kinder than necessary because every person you meet is fighting some sort of battle,” advises Munyoro, echoing the famous words of Philo Judeaus.

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