Good Samaritans have come to the aid of the household ravaged by hunger and abject poverty. The household with more than 15 family members of which 14 are minors including five school going children, has been finding it difficult to make ends meet as they struggled to provide a meal, let alone clothes and house themselves.
Following last week’s Windhoek Observer report revealing the family’s plight, Swapo Party Youth League’s secretary for education Hofni Iipinge together with Riya Engineering today donated seven blankets, 14 pillows, washing powder, soap, two 20kg bags of sugar and food parcels to the elderly granny of 14, the 59-year-old Rachel Paulus.
Her story was brought to the this publication’s attention, by Esther Nakele, a school teacher at Ondiamande Combined School where some of the minors are attending school. The school was pleading with the government, including good Samaritans to assist.
Nakale said the plight of the family is a painful experience, as she pleaded with the government to at least take charge of the five school-going children to cater for their needs and possibly help them evade the wrath of poverty.
“These are brilliant learners, ever passing with flying colours despite the hardship they are facing daily of walking half-naked in torn clothes and without anything to eat; but still they make it to school, and perform exceptionally well, surpassing the privileged kids. We sometimes as teachers and school management, collectively assist with the little we can so that they are encouraged not to drop out,” Nakale then narrated.
“It is equally painful for us as teachers, because we see how good and intelligent the learners are, but to think of the promising future that is likely to be destroyed due to lack of basic support, it hurts more. They are trying hard that school is their only way out of this sorry state, therefore what they need now is support from government and all of us,” added Nakale.
To make matters worse, none of the learners have birth certificates, including those at home. One of the learners is in Grade 9, two in Grade 6, one in Grade 5 and the youngest in pre-primary. “It is therefore very important that something is done urgently especially for the Grade 9 as he needs identity documents to accompany applications as he advances further. Without any documents he’s facing a bleak future,” she stated.
Nakale, said together with her colleagues, they were shocked and heartbroken when they recently visited the family’s homestead at a nearby village of Okathakamaguru, Eheke, UukwiyuUushona Constituency, where it was discovered that the thatched huts in which they live are falling apart and without doors. This is further compounded by rotten twigs, while the inside of the holed huts lays nothing apart from thin cloths, without beds and mattresses.
The children, mainly maternal grandchildren of the elderly known only as Kuku Rachel, were abandoned at her house by her sons and daughter who have since vanished and their whereabouts unknown. Some of the kids are from family members, who allegedly fled from their parent’s houses because of hunger and found refugee at Kuku Rachel, because it is apparently better, as they would eat something once a day than going for days without anything.
“It is really bad, the grandmother is of an advanced age, she is unable to do much, but only relies on the pension grant, which is insufficient. Her own children left apparently in search of better life, and never returned. Those who came back only dropped their kids. Our plea as a school and community, is that these family needs to be assisted with basic food, clothes, blankets, uniforms and their huts to be improved to a better structure. Also they are in need of water as they rely on a traditional well, which is not hygienic because they can’t afford to pay for piped tap water. The neighbours have also gotten tired of assisting her with water, because she (Rachel) allegedly does not contribute towards the bill,” pleaded the life skills teacher.