Tsumeb The categorisation of Namibia as an upper middle-income country has left many orphanages, charities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in a state of limbo as donors have gradually withdrawn financial assistance. This has in turn compelled some organisations to shut their operations, as there no funds to sustain them, leaving vulnerable children and orphans stranded with no place to call home. This trend has, however, motivated TOV HIV/AIDS Orphans & Vulnerable Children’s Organisation in Tsumeb - one of the civil organisations affected by the cuts in funding - to venture into horticulture to sustain their operations in difficult times. Taking into consideration the hardships which children go through, TOV was fortunate enough to be allocated a 10 000 hectares through government’s resettlement programme few years ago at Farm Oerwood, some 10 km from Tsintsabis. This is where they intend to start up an evergreen project to generate income. Apart from cultivating vegetables, such as cabbage, carrots, potatoes, onions, carrots, butternut and watermelon, they want to start raising chickens and cattle, as well as setting up a fish pond. According TOV technical adviser Reverend Edward Amadhila, the organisation is in dire need of funds, as their donor funding has shrunk, thus jeopardising their day-to-day operations. “We need to provide the kids with food three times a day, thus in the long run we will not manage to run effectively. That’s why we want to find other means to sustain ourselves before the situation gets out of hand,” stated Amadhila. Amadhila made it clear the project should not be seen by the public as a profit-making business run at the expense of the children. Instead, it is just a means of avoiding the worst. The mastermind behind the envisaged project is Zimbabwean Ngonidzashe Mafaune, who has university level education in on agriculture. Mufaune holds a Bachelor of Science Honours degree from the University of Zimbabwe, as well as a diploma in crop science, agricultural engineering and agribusiness management from Gwebi Agricultural College. “We’re looking at a five-year term plan, whereby farming will be done all year round. For now, we will start with winter and summer crop farming. The aim of the project is to fence off the whole plot to avoid pests from around the farm and to produce 75 000 cabbages within the winter season. “We also intend to produce 24 000 watermelons for the summer. The idea behind it is to make the plot a business entity with the capacity to sustain itself, ,” explained Mafaune, pointing out that it would make the TOV more self-reliant. “When looking at the size of the centre and the amount of children it is helping out, it is beyond doubt that a stable and constant source of income will be a great boon to the growth and livelihood of the orphanage, with the main objective of producing cabbages for the orphanage kitchen and the local market,” he added. Despite the formidable plans in place, finance remains a massive challenge. It is proposed that the first phase of the project on three hectares will require an amount of N$286 771, with cabbage production at N$133 692 (fon two hectares), watermelons N$65 361 (on 1 hectare), including fencing at N$87,718. TOV provides shelter to vulnerable children living with HIV/AIDS, including orphans. It further runs a kindergarten and has a school scheme, whereby it enrols those children in school and pays the related fees. The organisation has been operational since 2001, starting with a pre-school with three children. To date over 230 children have graduated from the pre-school, with some children that started at the inception of TOV now already in Grade 7.
New Era Reporter
2016-04-19 09:38:25 3 years ago