Former president Hifikepunye Pohamba has donated four classrooms and a storeroom, worth N$900 000, to the Okanghudi Combined School at his home village in the Ohangwena region on Friday.
Pohamba said he strives to support education countrywide and to ensure no learner is taught under the tree.
Namibia’s second president said this is not the first time he is assisting Okanghudi Combined School. He previously built two hostel blocks, which accommodate 186 Grade 11 learners.
“It was 2019 when the delegates from Okanghudi school came to our house to request assistance from me to build four classrooms for our school, as the numbers of learners were expanding and the school did not have enough classrooms to accommodate them. So, I decided to help the school to build four classrooms and a storeroom,” he further explained.
Pohamba, who was awarded the prestigious 2014 Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, urged learners to study hard to ensure they will perform well in their final examinations and added that despite the challenges being faced by the learners, they should not be discouraged because nothing comes easy in life.
“Remain focused and study smart to make the grade and yourselves proud. Remember the whole nation is anxious, looking forward to the next generation of leaders. That’s you. You are our hope; our future – and I know that you can do it. Therefore, my best wishes go out to all Grade 10 and 11 learners,” he said.
Pohamba also said teenage pregnancies cause multiple problems, hindering learners from focussing on their schoolwork and further contributing to the cycle of poverty in families.
“I would like to thank the principal and all teachers for being committed and always working hard. I am absolutely impressed by the performance of this school. It is very important that you continue to put more effort to ensure that the pass rate is high at this school,” he stressed.
Okanghudi Combined school has 820 learners, of which 186 are mainly Grade 11s and live in the hostel. The school has 24 teachers.
The school principal, Matheus Nekongo, thanked the former president for adding value to the school and for being a caring, considerate leader, who continues to be exemplary in his selflessness.
Nekongo pointed out how these four classrooms are a stark contrast to what former president Pohamba considered a classroom in his early days, which was merely a tree. He added that these new classes are dedicated to junior primary learners because the new classes will motivate them to attend school.
He also highlighted other areas in which they could receive assistance, saying they need a dining hall, furniture for the donated block, hostel beds and an administration block for staff members. “I am, therefore, pleading for assistance from the public to come and assist our school, especially with hostel beds, because our learners still sleep on mattresses,” said the principal.
For the donations they received, the principal promised to reciprocate the generosity “with hard work, discipline, the spirit of never giving up and passing with flying colours”.