By FOCUS REPORTER
Metropolitan’s policy of contributing to the improvement of social conditions in communities where they host tournaments is a well-known element of their strategy of development through youth football. The Corporate Social Investment component of the 2010 Metropolitan COSAFA U-20 Championship involved a visit to the Easy Learning Training Centre in G-West, Gaborone on Thursday morning.
In the presence of members of the COSAFA Executive Committee, including its president, Suketu Patel, as well as the players from the Zambian, Zimbabwean, Madagascan and Namibian squads, the centre’s programme manager, Laurence Gaorutwe gave a brief overview of the activities of the venture.
In 2007, we established this voluntary learning centre to attend to the needs of the youth in the area, offering support in the form of educational assistance, career guidance and counselling for Grade 12 learners who have failed to qualify for university entrance. Our staff, made up of nine volunteers, strive to afford them a second chance by coaching them through the syllabus to give them a better chance of passing,” he said.
Since inception, more than 200 students that have passed through the centre’s doors have been accepted at university, which is open to all youth that require educational support.
The selfless dedication of those involved has changed the lives of many young Batswana, a number of whom have returned to volunteer their services to help others. He presented three students who have excelled at the University of Botswana after receiving coaching at Easy Learning Centre and have returned to help groom the next generation, to complete the circle, so to speak.
“Metropolitan’s contribution is essential for the continuation of our programme and we are most grateful that they have recognised what we are aiming to achieve, and that they chose us as the recipients of their assistance,” Mr. Gaorutwe added.
Metropolitan Botswana’s Human Resources Manager, Ms. Opelo Kwelagobe, outlined Metropolitan’s policy of ensuring their sponsorship contributions are felt in the community long after the end of the football tournament.
“The motto of the Metropolitan COSAFA Under-20 Championship, ‘Where African Legends are Born’ extends beyond football. We take a longer term view to leave a legacy that pervades all aspects of society. We have chosen to focus on education because we believe empowerment is far more beneficial than merely giving a handout,” she said.
“This centre epitomises our vision of empowerment by helping students get into university, where they can acquire skills that take them forward and be passed on to others. We are here to celebrate the vibrancy of African youth and promise, and it gives me great pleasure to announce Metropolitan’s three-year sponsorship pledge, starting now to provide 15 desktop and laptop computers, furniture for the centre, and a P100 000 donation towards furthering the aims of the centre. We aim to see this becoming a lasting legacy of the Metropolitan COSAFA Under-20 Championship.”
COSAFA President, Mr. Patel reiterated the message, adding, “We are delighted to bring the Metropolitan COSAFA Under-20 Championship to Botswana for the first time. Our focus has always been football but we recognise that this cannot be separated from the broader challenges of southern Africa as a burgeoning economic region. We aren’t trying to solve all of the area’s problems but we are committed to making a contribution, and for our member sates to learn more about the different communities in which we compete on the field of play.
“We recognise Metropolitan for the crucial contribution to the future strength of the region and commend them on their exemplary attitude and commitment to nourishing the youth into the leaders of tomorrow,” he said.
On Friday, it will be back to the serious matter of the semi-finals in Molopolole, where Zimbabwe play Zambia, followed by Madagascar v Namibia, for a place in Sunday’s final at the University of Botswana