HIV activist, 72, plans 500KM charity walk

28th March 2018
Stanley Monageng Source:The Midweek Sun


By Rachel Raditsebe -

HIV/AIDS activist and Founder of Thusang Bana Centre, Stanley Monageng, is set to go on a 500km charity walk on May 1, to raise funds for the establishment of structures for the upkeep of orphans under his care. Uncle Stan, as the beloved 72-year old is known, has been running the charity in Molepolole for over a year now, which helps children whose parents have died from HIV/AIDS. With a complementary staff of 25 volunteers, Thusang Bana currently supports around 30 children between the ages of a month to six years old and 16 young people.

As well as being a day care centre for vulnerable children, the centre provides tailoring training for unemployed youth, a gardening project whose produce is sold to raise funds and to feed children and the elderly of the community. Moreover, it conducts HIV and health education activities. “I strongly believe children have the right to live a free happy and healthy life with all opportunities availed to them,” he said. Monageng said he hopes to raise at least P400 000. With the money, he wants to buy porta cabins or caravans, which will be used as a kitchen for the children’s daily meals, a play area as well as for counseling services and space for providing life skills for the elderly. Currently the Centre is renting out a 2-bedroom house, which Monageng says is very small and limiting. “We want to have our own space as our beneficiaries have increased overtime and rental is also very expensive,” he stated.

The walk will be a return trip from Gaborone to Mahalapye, covering villages on the way including Hatsalatladi, Boatlaname, Shoshong, Lephephe, Palla-road, Artesia and Tobela amongst others. “Our main aim is to raise awareness about the treat all programme, which allows people to live longer and let children have a childhood, make it to school and grow up healthy and strong, rather than becoming orphans left to head households at a tender age,” he said. Monageng and his team will hold kgotla meetings in all the villages they will be passing through and provide HIV testing and counseling services and distribute condoms.

Monageng,who has been living with the HIV virus for the past 17 years said specific focus on HIV is vital because the infection rates are still far outpacing the number of people on treatment. “For every two people who started taking antiretroviral drugs, another five become infected, unless we take urgent steps to intensify HIV prevention we will fail to sustain the gains we have made as a country,” he stated. Botswana has the second highest HIV prevalence in the world with latest reports estimating it to be around 17.6 per cent for the general population and 24 per cent for 15 years and above age group.

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