Mogogi - How a five-year-old walks into a better future

SAVE wants to reach 62,000 children with the environmental education programme Education for Conservation. That is the five-year plan. But what people and stories are hidden behind this gigantic number?

They are people like five-year-old Mogogi and his mother Rothe Keesi.

Mogogi lives with two siblings and his mother in Matsaudi, south of the Okavango Delta, in one of the most wildlife-rich regions on earth. The villagers are regularly attacked by wild animals, which leads to many conflicts.

Rothe, like many mothers in Botswana, has to bring up her three children alone. Unemployment is high, and the women eke out a living with odd jobs: Cutting reeds or herding cattle, for example. It is a daily struggle to feed the family. Children like Mogogi were usually left to fend for themselves during the day. This is different now: Mogogi attends the SAVE playgroup for pre-school children in Matsaudi together with 30 other children.

An elephant is painted on the square flat building. This already shows what the educational focus is: wildlife education. Fear of wild animals is to be transformed into knowledge and acceptance. Teacher Neo Xhike, who was specially trained by SAVE, makes lion and elephant masks together with the children to take away their fear of wild animals. In the playgroup, the children learn about the life and behaviour of the various wild animals that they sometimes encounter on their way to school. The playgroup in Matsaudi has now been running for two years and 120 children have participated in this Education for Conservation project so far. Next year, a Learning Centre for 60 to 100 children and young people will be built there. This project was financed by the proceeds of the Africa Calendar 2021 of our cooperation partner Share for Smiles.

For Mogogi and his family, the SAVE Playgroup has changed everything. He is no longer alone when his mother has to work. Even before he starts primary school, he learns to count to 20 and to write his name. And above all, he gains one thing: self-confidence. He learns that he does have opportunities, even though he was born with few chances. To continue supporting children like him, SAVE offers educational projects at different ages.

While Mogogi’s mother supports the family with odd jobs, she wishes that her son will have a better future than she ever had. Perhaps, she wishes, he will even study one day.

Anyone watching Mogogi can see how he enthusiastically absorbs all knowledge with an alert gaze and shining eyes. By the way, the name Mogogi means “the one who pulls you along”. He pulls himself out of lack of opportunities, is a role model for his siblings and gives his whole family hope for a better future. To develop a future with educational opportunities and, above all, full of enthusiasm for the unique wildlife of the Okavango Delta, which must be preserved for future generations.

In the film, Mogogi and his mother tell their whole story.