• July 11th, 2020

Girl (12) quits school to take care of destitute family

Victoria Kaapanda

OMADHIYA – A 12-year-old girl has abandoned school in order to take care of her younger siblings. 
Esther Haimbodi from Omadhiya village in Oshikoto region decided not to go back to her paternal grandmother’s house where she was living, after she discovered that her mother had abandoned her six siblings between the ages of two and 16. The children live in an open space surrounded by mahangu crops. The only adult they live with is their 44-year-old uncle who suffers from a mental condition. 
Haimbodi has two older siblings who are 15 and 16 and four younger ones that are between the ages of two and nine. 

Only two of the seven children are currently in school. However, the school principal of Oshilulu Combined School Mishack Munichinga described the situation of the two learners as “worrisome” as they miss school too often.  

“They miss school for three to four days every week. But one of the institutional workers at the school explained to me about their situation at home,” he said.

Muchininga said he understands exactly what the children are going through, as he came to discover when he eventually visited their house. He, however, urged learners who are going through similar struggles at home to talk to the school authorities in order to have special meals arranged for them while at school. 
Haimbodi went to visit her maternal family in December but when she realised the condition under which her siblings were living, she decided not to go back to Onashiku village where she grew up. 

“My mother apparently went to visit some relatives at Onamutene village early in December last year, and she never returned. I really want to go back home (at Onashiku) and to go to school but I cannot leave my little siblings under this condition,” said Haimbodi as she wiped away her tears.
“No one in our house has national documents, we don’t receive drought relief food and none of us are registered for the orphans and vulnerable children grant. We are starving, sometimes we go up to two days without food.” 

The whole family of eight, including their uncle, sleep in a makeshift bedroom, which is surrounded by crops. This is a place they call home. They have no mattresses and their bedding is totally soaked as there is nothing to stop water from flowing into their room.  

When they get food they cook it in the open, and sometimes they are unable to do so because of the torrential rain. Their uncle Thomas Simon (44) has called on good Samaritans to assist them with anything possible, including corrugated iron sheets for shelter, as well as food. 

Oniipa constituency councillor Jerry Ngwena said someone alerted him about the situation of the family, but he was not aware that “it was as bad as I recently saw it on social media”. 

Ngwena said his office has since provided the family with five bags of maize meal, cooking oil and tins of fish. He added that he wanted to provide the family with a tent but his office has nothing in stock. 
Omadhiya village headman Mwene Elifas Petrus who claims to be a relative of the helpless family said he was aware of Haimbodi and her family’s situation but he had “given up on them because they have no manners”.

 “I don’t want to lie. I have known them, even when their mother (Haimbodi’s grandmother) was alive, but I will not help them because of their bad manners,” said Petrus without elaborating.

– vkaapanda@nepc.com.na

Staff Reporter
2020-03-02 07:22:45 | 4 months ago

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