Children of the Elephants


When a person just comes across the Zambezi River at the border of Zambia and Botswana, one can see a place called Kasane where thousands of tourists come every year from all over the world to visit nature and the animals and go for safaris. Unfortunately, the people living in the area are faced with difficulties and challenging realities.

In Kasane there are many children and adolescents of young single mothers, or whose parents have no jobs, or died of AIDS, or simply don't care for them or don't know how to care for them. These children in Kasane don’t have enough food to eat or sufficient clothing. Because of the many difficulties and hardships, these children are pushed onto the streets. A good number of children don’t go to school or are failing in school. Sadly, some of them are infected with HIV. The children are hungry, frustrated, and angry. Some adolescents have resorted to drugs, prostitution and criminal activities. Some have been sexually abused. They constantly seek love and attention, looking for quality time and dreaming of a better future. The St. Francis Catholic Mission is trying to answer their needs through the project BanaBa Ditlou (BaBaDi). The word means "Children of the Elephants" in Setswana, a Botswana local language. Everyday approximately 50 children and adolescents are cared for in the school and given food, a project run by lay people with the support of Marek Marciniak SVD and a religious Sister. To keep the children and adolescents out of marginality, a teacher trains them to play traditional musical instruments as part of a musical ensemble. This musical ensemble came up with recordings of songs and music that are sold to tourists.