Africa-Press – Namibia. The living conditions of learners at Oshamukweni Combined School in the Ohangwena region shocked many when pictures of students living and cooking in deplorable conditions circulated on social media last year.
The learners, who lived in traditional huts and corrugated iron zinc rooms near the school, used donkeys to transport water from a nearby well.
They cooked in the open and slept on makeshift beds, which they fashioned from sticks and mud.
The school, which is 34km east of Okongo, has over 300 learners from pre-primary to grade 9.
The learners come from disadvantaged backgrounds and they used to walk long distances to school.
This forced the teachers and learners to makeshift shacks and traditional huts near the school, a lifestyle that forced them to prepare their meals on an open fire.
But the lives of Oshamukweni pupils will change, as Kalahari Holdings handed over the donation of the two hostel blocks and ablution facilities, which were constructed at the cost of N$1.5 million.
Kalahari Holdings and Footsteps for Africa donated close to N$3 million for the construction of the hostel ablution facilities, a kitchen and a dining room.
The Swapo-owned company, Kalahari Holdings, assisted with N$1.5 million while Footstep for Africa assisted with N$1.4 million at the end of last year.
According to the board chairperson of Kalahari Holdings, Martin Inkumbi, they came to learn about the living conditions of the Oshamukweni learners last year through social media when the school was pleading for assistance.
“Our team, with the assistance of the education directorate in the region, took a familiarisation trip to access the living conditions at the school, which evidently was not conducive for the learners,” he said.
He added they then decided to give a helping hand and submit a proposal to the board, which subsequently approved the funds to construct the facilities.
He indicated the hostel facilities were constructed with 64 beds and ablution facilities.
“We are aware that this investment will not be able to cater to all learners in need. We, however, trust it will make a difference, and we hope it will draw other donors to assist where they can,” he said.
The education director in the Ohangwena region, Isak Hamatwi, said they still have a lot of work to do in terms of infrastructure development.
However, the donation has made their work much easier to get more things done.
“The situation of life and the learning environment of learners at Oshamukweni Combined School will no longer be the same. It will no longer be a life of hard struggle, but a befitting life in an independent Namibia,’’ said Hamatwi.
He further said the generosity of friends of education continues to change the lives of the learners.
He indicated the resources supplied by Kalahari Holdings have resulted in the construction of two hostel blocks, an ablution block, a well-furnished kitchen facility and a shade for a dining hall, which is still to be completed.
Ohangwena governor Walde Ndevashiya said without the help of corporate companies and individual business people, the government would find it difficult to achieve its goal of providing inclusive, quality education to our young people.
“To the schoolboard, parents, teachers, learners and the community at large, the responsibility is now in your hands to ensure these buildings to be handed over to you today serve the purpose meant for them, and that they are well-maintained by all; donations of this nature are difficult to secure, especially during this time of economic downturn,” he advised.
Ndevashiya further said he would like to call upon other organisations and the business community out there to emulate a good example of Kalahari Holdings by contributing where they can to meet the government halfway in ensuring the learning environment of the Namibian child is improved.