BTWA2010-00028 by ©UNICEF Botswana/2010/Christine Nesbitt.

A day with a child-headed household in Botswana

Botswana — Edwin Manda has headed his household, looking after his two brothers, Thato Manda and Thapelo Manda, since he was 19 years old. The Manda brothers lost their mother in 2006 after a stroke and subsequent illness, and their father in 1998.

The Manda family receive assistance from Botswana government’s Social and Community Development programme in the form of a monthly foodbasket, school uniforms and clothes, and the costs of water piped to their home. The two younger brothers are exempted from paying school fees and Edwin longs to return to school to finish his last year. Edwin is pleased to have the assistance, as it would be very difficult to manage to send his brothers to school on the freelance work he is sometimes able to get making burglar bars and security doors. The family’s basic needs are met through the government’s support but extra costs such as electricity are hard to meet. Edwin feels that “anyone who is in his position should take good care of his siblings, not neglect them.” The youngest brother, Thapelo, stays with his aunt Dorah Thapelo during the school term. The two older boys live full time in the home that their parents left behind.

©2010 Christine Nesbitt Hills/UNICEF Botswana