A Healing Homes community is a safe place. It’s a place where a child can go to sleep free from hunger or fear. Where fresh water and healthy foods are available to everyone. Where a sick child can visit a clinic and get the life-saving medications and treatments she needs. Where a school—and even a playground—are close by.
Dula Sentle - Otse, Botswana
Dula Sentle, which means “Rest Assured” in Tsetswana, is an orphan day center for children that is located 45 km south of Gaborone. After having lost their parents, in an attempt to offset any feelings of further abandonment, children are encouraged to move into a relative’s home where they can sustain the feeling of family. But oftentimes, extra support and attention is needed. Thus, Dula Sentle was created with the intent of providing a home away from home.
Meet the Children of Dula Sentle
A Dula Sentle Day
Every day after school, children arrive at the center where they change out of their uniforms, take a hot bath and dress in everyday clothing that has been washed and prepared for them. After bathing, they all gather in the dining hall where they happily socialize with one another and eat a well-balanced, hot meal.
Once they’ve eaten, the children are divided into three groups: the Beetles (ages 4-8), the Grasshoppers (ages 9-13) and the Scorpions (ages 14 +). The Beetles gather for arts & crafts, story time, games, and all activities that can help to facilitate their learning. The Grasshoppers and Scorpions work on their homework while receiving any tutoring that’s needed.
Once the study time has been completed, the children gather eagerly for their fun time, where they often play games of soccer, volleyball or run freely on the playground. One of the favored activities is singing. The children gather together where they sing songs that were written for them to help express their feelings of grief over their losses while also singing about their happiness for the blessings that are still in their lives. They are reminded how special each and every one of them is.
As the day nears its end, the children return to their prospective homes where they sleep amongst family and wake to a new day.
The Story of Dula Sentle
Dula Sentle was created with extraordinary vision in 2001 to provide the orphans of Otse Village a safe and loving place to go when their parents passed away from AIDS. For many years, the center was a globally recognized success. Presently, with much support from many parties involved, The Healing Homes Project is working towards a transfer of possession of the center in order to continue the wonderful work that has been a model of success for many organizations around the world.
Furniture Shop and Tea Garden
A furniture shop has been built along the main highway that leads from Gaborone towards Lobatse so that people traveling along the road can stop to peruse pieces of furniture that has been finely crafted by the older children. There is a workshop there where the children learn the art of carving and using materials to build furniture and trinkets of all types and sizes. Next door is a beautiful tea garden surrounded by lush greenery where people can stop by and relax for a cup of tea or coffee while having a light snack. The older children from the center work various shifts to help learn about employment and responsibility. Proceeds from these ventures go towards helping with the costs of the center.
A volunteer campsite has been built with beautifully landscaped brick walkways, fire rings, sheltered sitting areas, a swimming pool and a dormitory for sleeping. Volunteers from all over the world come and spend time with the children where they help with tutoring, cooking, playing games and any other necessity that helps the children with their daily needs. Volunteers come for as little as a few days to months at a time. No matter the duration, it is an unforgettable experience for everyone.
- A nursery/playroom will be built onsite to facilitate children 3 and under.
- Counselors will be available onsite for children to express their feelings.
- Sponsorships will resume for the individual children.
Botlhale jwa Phala ("Clever Springbok") Paper/Recycling Plant in Otse
The Healing Homes Project has acquired the Otse paper/recycling plant called Botlhale jwa Phala, which means Clever Sprinbok in Tsetswana. Over the years, Gaborone businesses donated their 'trash' to the plant where the paper was recycled then used to make gift bags, cards, stationery, etc. that businesses throughout Botswana would then purchase. The plant is the result of an Otse woman's vision to provide jobs for the village youth to teach them a sense of responsibility while also providing a source of income for them. The Healing Homes Project will continue to honor the woman's original vision while working towards expanding the business further to provide more opportunities for the village.
From gift bags and greeting cards to stationery and photo mats, here are some examples of paper products that the plant produces:
North Botswana (2012)
Botswana is among the countries hardest hit by HIV/AIDS. In a country with a population of less than 2 million, the HIV prevalence rate is the second highest in the world with 37% of the adult population infected. Over 120,000 children have been orphaned due to AIDS. However, the country was the first African country to aim to provide anti-HIV drugs to its citizens in need. There is a strong belief that if there is anywhere in Africa that can succeed in implementing an HIV/AIDS care and treatment program, it will be Botswana. This Healing Homes community will be built as a HH standard community.
South Africa (2014)
In Sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa is at the top of the list of countries whose people are living with HIV/AIDS. Nearly 11 percent of the country's population, or 5.2 million people, are infected with HIV/AIDS, including one in five women ages 15-49, which is more than any other single country in the world. Today, there are over 3.5 million orphans under the age of 18, with over 1.5 million of them orphaned due to AIDS. In a fight against this pandemic, the country has begun to distribute ARV drugs to its people, which is proving to reduce the number of infant deaths, while at the same time, increasing the life expectancy of South Africans living with HIV/AIDS. This Healing Homes community will be built as a HH standard community.