Learners at the Oshamukweni Combined School in the Ohangwena region are no longer going to use firewood to prepare their meals after Footsteps for Africa constructed a fully-furnished kitchen and a dining room for them.
On Wednesday, Footsteps for Africa officially handed over the kitchen to Ohangwena governor Walde Ndevashiya and the regional director of education, Isak Hamatwi. A hostel was also constructed to the tune of N$1.4 million that Footsteps for Africa donated to the school last year.
The shocking living conditions of Oshamukweni learners, which triggered the two organisations to intervene with the aim of improving the school’s standards, was documented on social media and published by a local newspaper in 2020.
Learners lived in deplorable conditions, and used to prepare their food on open fires within the school premises. Ndevashiya said the donation didn’t come after the article was published in a local newspaper. “Before the newspaper published the negativity about the Oshamukweni Combined School, my office was fully aware of the living situations there because I had received a letter from the principal,” he stated.
He added that his office was in the process of assisting the school. Therefore, people should stop saying that the donation came after the media published the sorry state of the school. Ndevashiya said his office has noted a number of challenges faced by villagers in the Okongo constituency. The community should thus remain patient, as his office is trying to find amicable solutions to the challenges. Also speaking at the event, Hamatwi said the learning environment of learners at Oshamukweni would no longer be the same.
It will no longer be a life of struggle, but a life befitting an independent country. He said the journey to assist Oshamukweni started with the identification of the needs, back in 2019, when representatives of Footsteps for Africa visited the school. They promised to return; a promise they kept.
“The article in the local newspaper about the school just accelerated the projects. We should possibly thank them for stimulating and widening the interest of many people, who then came forward to assist,” he observed.
“The donation has made our work much easier to get more things done. You jumpstarted the process,” he added. Founder for Footsteps Africa Austin Cameron explained that naming his organisation thus is in line with the understanding that life is a journey, and if one has a gift or means to help, then that’s the purpose.
He noted that taking the next step of progress came after he saw the need to assist the community of Oshalumbu, particularly the Oshamukweni Combined School, and hopefully help more people in future.
Speaking to New Era, grade nine pupil Namola Abraham expressed gratitude for the kitchen donation because they are no longer going to cook on fires. The school, which was established in 1976, currently has 330 learners from pre-primary to grade nine, 10 teachers and two support staff.