What is Botho?
Botho – ‘Motho ke motho ka batho’ meaning ‘I am because you are.’ It means “having a deep sense of another person’s humanity—how to demonstrate being a human being to another human being.” (Mehring 2013:1)
The Botho Movement’s fundamental aim is to nurture above all things, compassion. Compassion is a sensitivity to suffering, with a deep wish and commitment to relieve this suffering in ourselves and others. We use ‘botho,’ a Setswana word, to remember the ancient root of this principle in Setswana history. Botho is in fact one of Botswana’s five national principles, (the others being, democracy, development, self-reliance and unity) and as the Botswana’s Vision for 2016 states:
‘Botho defines a process for earning respect by first giving it, and to gain empowerment by empowering others. It encourages people to applaud rather than resent those who succeed. It disapproves of anti-social, disgraceful, inhuman and criminal behaviour, and encourages social justice for all. It means above all things to base your thoughts, actions and expectations for human interaction on the principles of Love, Respect and Empathy’
Why Nurture compassion?
There is a growing body of evidence showing the benefits of practicing compassion. Research consistently shows that we feel happier when we perform acts of compassion– for our children, students, families, friends, and communities. Not only do good deeds make us feel better; people who are kind and compassionate are usually the most successful. For this reason The Botho Movement is promoting compassion throughout Botswana through three main aims:
1. THINK IT- We aim to encourage people all over Botswana (in businesses, schools, work places and in their own homes) to think about how they could show compassion towards others.
2. FEEL IT - - Respecting and having empathy for people in different situations. Trying to see things from somebody else’s perspective through love and support. It’s time to be caring and understanding towards each other. Taking responsibility for our actions and recognising the effect that our actions and reactions have on others.
3. LIVE IT - Now is the time for change! Let’s take our thoughts and feelings from the previous aims and put them into action! Once compassion is practiced habitually, it can become a way of life.
What can I do to nurture compassion?
- Make random acts of kindness and compassion part of your day to day life! There are more than 316 fantastic ideas from the Random Acts of Kindness website. One of the most simple, powerful and immediate of compassionate acts is to smile at a stranger. Happiness is contagious! And remember to share your compassionate act with us so we can shareit!
- Get your school, business, NGO or organisation to add themselves as a partner to the Charter for Compassion, the best idea humanity ever had!
- Get involved with ‘Compassion-It’ Botswana with our Compassion-It Wristbands Campaign and start a trend in your organisation, area or school. Be the change you want to see in the world!
- Start a Compassionate Revolution in your own home and dedicate your family to making this world a kinder, more caring place for your children and grandchildren to inherit. With P.E.T. Training soon to be available nationally and activities for all the family anyone can get involved with The Botho Movement.
- Find out more about the ground breaking new research being made into the health and social benefits of compassion by Stanford University, School of Medicine.