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Eritrean refugees confront barriers to English fluency

In order to bridge the language barrier and make Dukwi Refugee Camp more welcoming for them, the ten Eritrean asylum seekers have enrolled with Skillshare for English lessons as of the beginning last December.

Skillshare is a learning institution that operates as a Non-Government Organization (NGO) within the Dukwi Refugee Camp. And for years, the institution has been offering academic, vocational and technical education to asylum seekers as well as refugees.

Through a sponsorship from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the ten Eritrean footballers have been to learn English for them to understand the common language since it is the first step in making refugee families feel at home.  

Senior Regional External Relations Officer with the UNHCR Regional Office for Southern Africa, Tina Ghelli confirmed that the Eritrean asylum seekers are currently attending English classes offered to all refugees in the camp provided by the NGO, Skillshare.

“The Eritrean footballers have access to the language training programmes in the camp, just like all of the refugees in Dukwi,” confirmed Ghelli in a response to a questionnaire send to her by WeekendPost.

Ghelli added that the programme is provided by UNHCR support for language and vocational training to refugees at Dukwi Refugee Camp through their implementing partner in Skillshare.

She said the UNHCR do provide support for English language training classes to refugees in the camp who are in need of such a teaching. It is a not a special programme for the Eritreans only, she added saying those who feel they want to learn English are welcome in the classes.

“Learning English can of course help with communication in the camp as the main medium language in Botswana,” said Ghelli. Besides English training support, she said Eritreans have access to all the services provided in the camp, just like all the refugees.

Some of the Eritrean asylum seekers who talked to this publication said the program will play a significant role helping them as non-native English speakers maneuver the new culture in Botswana.

“The English language is vital for immigrants in the camp because it is the one that brings us together. We are from different nations,” said the Eritrean goalkeeper through a translator while speaking in his native language, Tigrinya.

Not knowing English has been hindering the ten footballers’ ability to adjust to life at Dukwi Refugee Camp and Botswana in general, he said. He said the language barrier was going to leave them vulnerable to discrimination.

The ten players refused to return home after playing a World Cup qualifying match in Botswana last October and are now seeking asylum in the country.
 
There have been a number of mass defections by Eritrean athletes in recent years. One of the most noticeable was in 2013, when Uganda granted asylum to 15 Eritrean players and their team doctor after they absconded at the end of a football tournament.

Eritrea is notorious for human rights abuses, with torture and slavery both reported by the United Nations Commission of Inquiry report to be commonplace.  

The country has also been accused by the UN of forcing its citizens to indefinite national service and of killing people trying to escape abroad. Eritrean government dismissed the UN’s findings as “totally unfounded and devoid of all merit.”

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Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.

Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa

A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.

COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”

According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.

“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”

Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”

Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.

Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.

“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.

For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.

“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.

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TotalEnergies Botswana launches Road safety campaign in Letlhakeng

22nd November 2022

Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.

The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ,   Patrick Thedi said,  “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”

As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders  will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.

Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele,  who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.

The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as  well as  bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.

TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050,  has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.

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