The President of Botswana, His Excellency Mr Mokgweetsi Masisi, delivered a keynote address at a Fundraising Gala Dinner hosted by Ladies Circle on the 9th of June 2018. The Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC), hosted over 500 guests for the Ladies Circle Botswana’s Fundraising Gala Dinner for the Happy Hearts Home.
Recognising the need for an interim home for children who travel to Gaborone to access Cancer treatment and have no relatives to stay with while in the capital city, Ladies Circle Botswana (LCB) pledged to raise the funds needed to build and run this home. The home will be built in Block 8, on land owned by the Cancer Association of Botswana (CAB).
The first of their fundraising activities which will run until 2019, was the Gala Dinner held this past Saturday night. It was themed “a touch of gold”, in line with the Gold Ribbon that represents Childhood Cancers, such as the Pink Ribbon that represents breast Cancer. The performances on the night were mostly by children, from the ages of 5 to 18, who showcased their performing arts talents. “We thought since the project benefits children, it would be nice to have them be the main acts of the night”, said Melissa Kadzirange, the convener of the Happy Hearts project.
The sombre night was opened by James Moloise, a 15 year old pianist who is a form 3 student at Rainbow Secondary School, leading the national anthem with a keyboard. Performances by the Bollywood Dancers, Twinkle Toes and TNT Contemporary Dance Group also followed. Mophato Dance Theatre executed a striking piece towards the end of the night, uplifting the room with one of their state of the arts ensemble. Eugene Jackson got the room on its feet and die-hard fans joined him in sing-along at the stage. A poem was also delivered by Jithya Wijesinghe of Maruapula Secondary School.
Sharon Munyoro, the coordinator of the Gala Dinner commented, “the turn out was amazing but the stars of the show were the MC’s (Master of Ceremonies) and the performers who proved that social responsibility and talent is reaching great heights.” All the performances were donated to the night, with no fee asked. One of the MC’s, Lebogang Makubate, is a form 4 student at Al Nur School who is also the reigning Junior Miss Botswana. One other was Lebani Mazhani, Cancer Awareness Activist who has been on many platforms, including TEDx, sharing her experience fighting and surviving Cancer. Both had a vested interest in the event and had been actively taking part in organising and coordinating the program for the night. Another MC was Ame Makoba, a professional MC who volunteered his services for the night.
Perhaps most notable however, was the key note address delivered by President Mokgweetsi Masisi. His presence and dedication to the cause alone was enough to encourage support from corporate giants. The event also gained much more publicity than would otherwise have, with the proceedings of the night being broadcast live on the Botswana Government Facebook Page. The President called for private-public partnership in enhancing and developing healthcare services in Botswana. Mr Masisi expressed that he fully and completely embraced, and gave his blessings to the vision of the Happy Hearts Home project.
Kadzirange, gave the vote of thanks and acknowledged the presence of Childhood Cancer survivors in the room, most of whom were seated at a table generously donated by Filtration Africa. Having them stand and receive a round of applause was certainly a sobering moment, recognising that this interim home would change real, tangible lives. In a comment later given to the Gazette write, Kadzirange said that the Gala Dinner was a great launch to the Happy Hearts Fundraising Campaign. “The support of all that attended and His Excellency, has given LCB even more encouragement to push forward with our efforts for the sake of the children than need this Home”, she said.
The President of Botswana, Mr Mokgweetsi Masisi, ended his address by thanking Ladies Circle Botswana and Cancer Association of Botswana for organising the event and for demonstrating visionary leadership. Him and the First Lady, Mrs Neo Masisi, received tokens of appreciation from Ladies Circle Botswana, Botswana Insurance Company and Cancer Association of Botswana.
The project is ongoing and more fund raising and awareness activities are due to follow. On the 16th of June 2018, a fitness day was held at the Stanbic Piazza in Gaborone, also to raise funds for the Happy Hearts Home. Contact can be made with LCB and Cancer Association of Botswana on how to donate and volunteer to make their dream a reality.