WINDHOEK – The Buy-a-Brick school campaign was launched on Friday to mobilise schools in the nationwide effort to raise funds for the construction of low-cost houses.
Head boys and head girls from over 50 schools as well as their support teachers and members of the local chapter of the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia (SDFN) attended the launch of the campaign.
The campaign, which runs from 2 March to May 2020, mobilises schools to collect funds through the sale of specially designed ‘footprint socks’ which have the Buy-a-Brick logo printed on them. The name ‘footprint socks’ was chosen to encourage and motivate learners to leave a footprint in the lives of families living in shacks and help them to acquire affordable houses.
The school with the most sales of the ‘footprint socks’ will receive an incentive of N$20 000 while the top selling boy and girl at the school will each receive N$5 000. The learner who sells the most socks at any of the other participating schools will also walk away with N$5 000. All the money raised during the campaign will be handed to the SDFN.
Since its inception in 2015 the campaign has collected around N$20 million, translating into close to 600 new homes for Namibian families who previously lived in shacks.
The Buy-a-Brick initiative raises funds from corporates, most notably Huawei and MTC, communities and individuals to build houses for members of the SDFN. The federation extends low-interest loans to low or no-income people so that they can buy their own property.
Standard Bank’s manager for public relations and communications, Isack Hamata, said at the launch of the school campaign that there was a need to rally all sectors and population groups in society, including learners, behind the campaign and to support the efforts to eradicate shacks in the country. “Housing creates communities and generates social capital. That is why it is important for everyone to rally around the initiative that has a real impact on the lives of thousands of ordinary Namibians. We firmly believe it is entirely possible to replace each and every shack in this country and make people economically active citizens who own their future. But we can only achieve that if we all work
This year Buy-a-Brick is teaming up with schools and learners to sell ‘happy socks’ as token bricks. “Sell a pair of ‘footprint socks’ at your school and in your community and create a happy home,” Hamata told the learners at the launch, adding that he looked forward to see the ‘footprint socks’ everywhere as a colourful sign of support for the Buy-a-Brick campaign.
A member of the SDFN, Edith Mbanga, said the impact of the Buy-a-Brick initiative has been real, allowing families of shack dwellers all over Namibia to make their first steps to owning a home.