EDITORS CHOICE Category-Social Development
Salim Kegodile [email protected]
Founder of Bona Naledi organisation
Salim Thabang Kegodile may be young, but he’s leaving some big shoes to fill in Gaborone’s Old Naledi. He is the founder of Bona Naledi — a community organization with the aim of promoting academic excellence among the youth.
The 26-year-old has always been drawn to the idea of effecting change. “I was motivated by the fact that I was born and bred in a Muslim family. My grandfather came from Malawi. He helped us to grow up with a strong foundation and not be influenced or shaken by the people we were growing up with.”
The community in which he was raised was troubled, plagued by high crime and unemployment rates. Drugs and petty crime were daily, in-your-face reminders.
So Kegodile became involved with youth organisations that sought to change the community for the better.
“I saw a post at YOHO [Youth Health Organisation] for peer theatre educators who were trained to train other youth in life skills and make a change. I volunteered for almost a year and eventually was absorbed to become a full-time staff member.”
Kegodile’s experience in grant proposals eventually opened a door as a senior manager with the Kast Foundation. Here Kegodile launched successful initiatives, such as the SMC campaign that trained participants on sexual and reproductive health.
But then in 2014, Kegodile took a leap of faith and started the organisation known today as Bona Naledi.
The organization is run by five full-time staff and thirty volunteers. In an effort to reduce criminal activity in Old Naledi, they focus on minimizing the number of school dropouts and accelerating the number of students enrolled in tertiary institutions. The challenges are many, however, in this uphill battle, as illiteracy runs rampant.
Kegodile is open to any ideas when it comes to income generation and community upliftment, even a restaurant. Bona Tatso is their most recent brainchild:
“Since Botswana became a middle-income nation, funding from donors has dried up. Now we only get funding for LGBTI issues. I felt that by setting up Bona Tatso we would be generating income and creating employment.”
His advice to other young people in his community: work hard, choose well and don’t turn to crime as an easy way to make money. – Mike Olivier