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Donations roll in for polio survivor

2023-03-15  Victoria Kaapanda

Donations roll in for polio survivor

ONGWEDIVA - Following a recent article by New Era about the deplorable living conditions of a polio sufferer, donations have been streaming in. 

The 65-year-old Simon Paulus from Omatangela village in the Ohangwena region contracted polio at the age of 14, robbing him of mobility.

As a result, he moves from one point to another by rolling his whole body. 

In a telephonic interview earlier this week, Paulus excitedly said that ever since this publication visited him, his life has changed for the better. He has been receiving various donations, including food items and building materials, from good Samaritans.

“If you see me today, you will not recognise me. I don’t look the same as you left me last week. I am now clean; I am living in a clean environment,’’ he said joyfully.

Paulus thanked everyone who came forth and helped him after his video and article were published by this paper, and shared on social media.

“I have noticed that my physical and living conditions really touched a lot of people. My phone is now ringing non-stop, as more people want to assist me. I am grateful,” he said.

Anna Kanana is his neighbour, and said Paulus has so far received cash of N$3 000 as well as items worth over N$20 000.

‘’The donation includes a portable toilet, a mobile phone, matrasses, blankets, clothes, a wheelchair, food and many more,” she added.

Kanana said earlier that Paulus was leading a difficult life, with no one to care for him. He employs caregivers that he pays with money from his government social grant, but they don’t last as they complain that the N$600 is too little.

“If neighbours did not send him food to eat that day, he would go to bed on an empty stomach. His caregiver would go to cuca shops the whole day without cooking, and would only show up when she is hungry,” she had explained earlier.


Previous donations

This is not the first time that the story about Paulus is being published. At the beginning of 2022, NBC’s broadcast allegedly attracted various donations that were mostly in the form of cash. The monies were apparently meant for a wheelchair and some building materials.

Paulus, however, claims not to have received a cent from the said funds nor the wheelchair. 

The building materials meant for the construction of a pit latrine were only dropped off at his house last week after New Era enquired with the constituency councillor responsible.  

Ongenga councillor Mathew Shikongo clarified that there was a WhatsApp group created last year for Paulus’s assistance. However, communication on the group faded after some time.

“The money collected was not enough to buy the wheelchair that fits his condition, but we decided to buy him a normal wheelchair which could temporality help. It was given to him,” he stated.

Shikongo could not give the exact amount that was raised, “since he was not the only one who had received the donations.”

On his part, he claimed that he used the portion that he received on building materials for the pit latrine, and remained with N$3 300.

“I took all the building materials to his house [last week]. I gave it to him,” he maintained.

Ohangwena Regional Council spokesperson Silas Nepembe said last year, governor Walde Ndevashiya, accompanied by Shikongo, delivered some donations to Paulus. Nepembe added that the donations were given by some local business people.  


2023-03-15  Victoria Kaapanda

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