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March 31, 2003

Facility to contribute towards children's development

From: Republic of Botswana, Botswana - Mar 31, 2003

President Festus Mogae says the newly constructed recreational facility at Ramotswa Centre for the Deaf, will help teach children team work.

The President added that it would enhence the spirit of co-operation and true sportsmanship as well as encourage the children to develop and utilise their thinking and reasoning powers.

Speaking at the handing over ceremony of the recreational building at Ramotswa Centre for Deaf Education on Friday, Mogae said the facility would contribute towards a child's intellectual development and create a perfect frame of mind for learning new concepts and ideas.

He said it would also create a natural context for communication, thus providing opportunities to learn and practise language skills.

President Mogae, who is patron of the centre, said it would provide opportunities for avoiding 'dead time' by making constructive use of free time so 'the devil is denied the opportunity to use idle hands'.

The building was constructed from P130 000 donated by Warren Lane and Joe Lalonde, who raised the money through cycling from Swakopmund in Namibia to Durban, South Africa, a distance of 3 000km in 14 days and 4 200km in 18 days from Perth to Sydney in Australia.

Mogae said the duo were not compelled by anyone to raise the funds but did so because they were 'men of conscience and compassion' who identified a need and decided to do something about it.

He said they had made it abundantly clear that the challenges of the hearing impaired were human problems and that the challenges the nation faced in responding to the needs of hearing impaired were common challenges of humanity.

Mogae saluted them for their generosity and major contribution to the education of the hearing impaired children in Botswana.

Expressing his profound gratitude to the cycling aces, he said the nation should take a leaf from the actions of the 'two extraordinary individuals'.

He said it was even a greater achievement considering that the sweat, thirst and pain they had to endure were motivated by the desire to help fellow human beings.

The president said government was doing everything possible to increase access to education for all children including those with hearing impairment as enshrined in the Revised National Policy on Education.

"The aspiration of Batswana on education for the future, as encapsulated in Vision 2016, is to have a system of quality education that is able to adapt to the changing needs of the country as the world around us changes," he said.

Mogae said in this regard, teachers were trained to handle pupils with mental, hearing, visual impairment, learning difficulties and physical disabilities.

He added that 25 primary school teachers were trained at Diploma and 20 at Degree levels each year while 30 secondary school teachers were trained at Degree level annually.

© Republic of Botswana