The students in the AAS Ambassadors researched areas in need throughout the world and voted to help build a school in the rural farming community of Pandamatenga, Botswana. Given the needs of the community, the Ambassadors felt they could help alleviate many of the problems faced there with the completion a school within the village. These children currently walk 6-8 km to the nearest school through bush and dangerous terrain, where lions and hyenas rest. This school will provide them with a safe place to learn.
The AAS Ambassadors committed to raising funds to construct the first 2 classrooms for the school. After visiting Pandamatenga in March 2014, the Ambassadors reaffirmed their commitment to finishing this dream. Their new global project goal is to help the farming community raise the remaining funds needed to construct the remaining buildings required by Botswana law to make the school a legal entity.
To date the Ambassadors have contributed $31,000 to the project, with the local farmers contributing an additional $14,000 and Building Botswana adding an additional $5,000. An additional $70,000 is needed to finish Phase 1. The Ambassadors hope to complete the first phase in early 2015 and will return to Pandamatenga in March for Discovery Week.
This school addresses a specific need within the community and will make school more accessible to the residents of the Newstance Ward who currently do not have a school of their own. These children walk 6-8 km each way to school in the neighboring ward of Guest House.
Meeting these children, it was clear that they love learning and want an education, even when their guardians feel it is unsafe for them to make the journey to school. For many of these children, the only meal they get each day is the porridge provided by the school in the morning, so education feeds their intellectual, social, and primary needs.
This project will teach respect for self and others by offering black children and white children the opportunity to attend school together for the first time in Pandamatenga’s history. Students will be taught in English, one of the official languages of Botswana, which will help bridge the gap between the village children who speak Setswana and the farmers children who speak Afrikaans.
Our Discovery Week trip helped our own students to be globally aware citizens by introducing them to a drastically different culture and the devastation of poverty. 55% of the children in this village are orphans who have lost both of their parents to AIDS. 65% of the children are HIV positive themselves, so education is key to a healthy future for them. Most Ambassadors felt this was a life-changing experience and can’t wait to go back to continue their work.
This project has the backing of not only the farmers, but the tribal chief, village elders, town council, families, and the leader of parliament for the Chobe region. Our project is sustainable as several companies in Botswana have committed to sponsoring children once the school is a legal entity and the farmers have committed to maintaining the buildings and grounds after we leave.
Please join us in giving the children of Pandamatenga a brighter future!