Ondangwa is situated in northern Namibia, with a population of approximately 23,000 people. The desert terrain in the country affects all aspects of life. The agriculture industry is dominated by crops that are able to withstand the dry climate, such as sorghum – a plant that is used as a flour, a sweetener, a source of ethanol, and livestock feed.
SOS Children began working in Namibia in the mid-1980s. We opened SOS Children’s Village Ondangwa in 2009. There are 12 family homes at the Village that accommodate orphaned and abandoned children.
The Village also comprises of an SOS Nursery for children in the Village and the surrounding neighbourhoods. Here, children are taught in one of three classrooms – pink, yellow and green – in a holistic approach, accommodating to each child’s learning ability. Last autumn, 25 youngsters graduated from the SOS Nursery and are now enrolled in primary school.
“It was an incredible year teaching them. I had tears in my eyes as I watched my students cross the podium and graduate,” says Ms. Queen, the SOS teacher for the green classroom.
Ms. Green explains that the curriculum has a weekly theme. From learning about marine life to world cultures, the children at the SOS Nursery receive a well-rounded education. 2015 saw the enrollment of 75 youngsters at the SOS nursery.
Strengthening vulnerable families
SOS Children also works directly with vulnerable families from the communities surrounding SOS Villages. Our family strengthening programmes provide support and resources needed to become self-sufficient and care for their children.
We were able to support an additional 53 participants this year. We are now supporting over 320 children in 120 families in the Family Strengthening Programme in Ondangwa.
Lily has all of the qualities it takes to become a successful doctor one day. Her SOS mother, Leorne, explains that she is “patient, and committed to her school work even when things get tough.”
Lily was severely malnourished when she arrived at the SOS Children’s Village in Onganwa, Namibia, three years ago. Before, she was living with her grandmother and her terminally ill mother. Her elderly grandmother did not have the capacity to properly care for a young child.
The three of them lived in a remote community. If Lily fell ill, it would take her and her grandmother almost an entire day to reach the nearest medical facility. The long journey usually deterred them from seeking medical advice, and as a result, Lily would usually become sicker.
A new hope at an SOS Children’s Village
When Lily’s mother passed away, a social worker recommended that she join SOS Children’s Villages where she will receive all of the care and support she needs.
Due to her severe malnutrition and lack of medical treatment in the last past, Lily was hospitalised for most of 2014. Her SOS mother explains that she could see the pain missing school caused her. Being in-and-out of the hospital for an entire academic year meant that Lily could not advance to the next grade.
“I know how important school is to Lily so I started home-schooling her. My children’s education is my responsibility and I will do everything in my power to see them succeed,” says SOS mother Leorne.
Lily has recovered and is now back in school. Lily explains that she enjoys attending her school’s Window of Hope programme, where young people openly discuss matters that affect their lives.
“When I finish school I want to attend university and become a medical doctor so that I can help people in my community. I want to be a role model to young people," says Lily. "I know what it is like to be ill, and no one should feel like, especially if it’s preventable.”
As a result of our sponsors, SOS Children was able to reach more vulnerable children and families in Namibia. Help us continue to expand our reach in 2016.