Stepping Stones International (SSI) hosted a special church service celebrated by Emeritus Bishop Boniface Setlalekgosi in appreciation of the instrumental role which St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Mochudi played in its founding in 2006. Ten years ago, Bishop Setlalekgosi and the Parish Council of St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church donated land adjacent to the church for Stepping Stones International (SSI) to establish its youth centre and head office. This land has provided space for SSI to deliver its innovative programmes, including leadership, life skills, psychosocial support, advocacy and community mobilization, to adolescent youth in Mochudi.
The significant successes of its programmes over the past ten years has continued to attract support and funding from many donors, including but not limited to the Government of Botswana, United Nations, U.S. government, Barclays Bank Botswana, Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL), For African Children Every Time (FACET Foundation), YCare, Orfund Foundation and Stephen Lewis Foundation as well as the European Union, and other corporate and civil society organisations. These partnerships paved the way for SSI to expand its services to other districts, including Kweneng, Central, Bobirwa, Kgalagadi, Southern, and South East.
We were overwhelmed by the amazing support our mass received. The SSI community responded well with guests from our wonderful local community as well as donors and visitors who travelled a great distance to celebrate with us. We were honored to have (among others):
- Emeritus Bishop Boniface Setlalekgosi and The Catholic Church Parish Council,
- Former First Lady of Botswana, Barbara Mogae.
- Kgosi Time Pilane of Mochudi.
- CEO of Barclays Bank Reinette Van der Merwe, accompanied by Yodit Kassaye-Molosi (Community Relations Manager)
- Harriet Pedersen, Minister Councillor (EU-EEAS)
These guests highlighted the continued support of our community and donors that SSI is blessed to have.
“without the support of community and partners we would not have been successful in guiding and assisting our youth.” – The Operations Manager, Tinny Seitei
SLIDE SHOW: 10 Year Commemorative Mass (Mochudi).
Executive Director, Lisa Jamu read a prayer from St. John Paul II, requesting strength in families and among youth. She stated that “St. John Paul II inspired her with his words to the youth,“Be not Afraid.” This is a mantra that Stepping Stones International instils in the youth of Botswana to achieve their dreams and not fear the journey it takes to reach them.
To commemorate its 10th anniversary, SSI is launching a campaign entitled #First10Next10 which will recognize and appreciate a decade of successful programmes and partnerships which have reached more than 7000 vulnerable youth nationwide. The #First10Next10 campaign will include several public events as well as monthly activities throughout the year, while accompanying stories, photos, and art from youth, employees, and alumni will be shared on SSI’s website and social media platforms.
Look out for a jam-packed year of celebrations as we highlight our achievements and our wonderful supporters without whom none of the success we have had would been possible. SSI is blessed to have completed its First10 and will continue to partner with organisations like The Catholic Church to serve more youth in Botswana in the Next10.