Giving back to the community

24 March 2020 | Youth

Senia Mwoonde

Ever since free education was introduced by the late education minister, Abraham Iiyambo, parents could not be happier because now children that could not afford to go to school before, to have that opportunity.

The decision was welcomed with open arms, but as the years went on schools started to face financial problems because a large fraction of school fees was used for the maintenance of the school building.

Now underprivileged children could attend school, but now the government was tasked with providing financial assistance for all schools in Namibia. Eventually the situation intensified to the point where schools had to raise funds for basic things such as photocopy paper.

Underprivileged kids can now attend school without having to worry about the costs involved, however they face another problem - hunger.

In April 2018, one of the institutional workers at the school realised that there was a need to start a soup kitchen for underprivileged learners in the lower primary phase. Mrs Goldine Hamases, affectionately known as Aunty Goldine discussed the issue with Mrs Salom who is a Life Skills teacher at the school and they decided to go ahead with the initiative. At first the soup kitchen relied on donations from teachers of the school and some parents. Later a club that preferred to remain anonymous, began donating bread to the kitchen every week. About 30-40 underprivileged kids receive a meal from the soup kitchen from Mondays to Fridays. The initiative has really improved the performance of learners because now they no longer have to slouch or sleep in the class.

Last month the kitchen received foodstuffs from the Municipality of Swakopmund from the department of health. The foodstuffs included maize meal, vetkoek flour, spaghetti, tomato sauce, cupcake flour as well as beans and peas. The gesture was welcomed with lots of smiles and Mrs Salom and Aunty Goldine could not hide their excitement.

Considering the current economic situation in Namibia the government cannot reach all the people’s needs, therefore it is important that you meet them halfway. One can truly see that the Municipality is doing its best to fulfil its social obligation. It is not always the case that a child is able to bring something to get him/her through the day but it is establishments like the Municipality that keep people like Aunty Goldine doing whatever it is they can to help the needy. However, more still needs to be done because all across the country, this is one of the challenges that schools face. At the end of the day it is initiatives like these that motivate children to stay in school thus preventing school drop-outs Although the kitchen relies on donors, Mrs Salom stresses that there needs to be more parent involvement in the children's education.

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