Twenty-four members of the Shack Dwellers Federation (SDF) in the Hardap region have commenced with the construction of houses in different towns and villages.
The residents who are part of the Tanigu and Ada/gai savings groups in Gochas and Gibeon respectively, are beneficiaries of N$1 million donated to the federation’s national body by MTC through its Knockout project that was hosted in 2020.
The funds will be used to procure building materials to construct the houses.
The group is from low-income households who currently reside in corrugated iron sheet dwellings. A total of 450 houses have so far been constructed throughout the region to cater for members from the different savings groups.
According to Melody Stewe, a member of the Tanigu group in Gochas, a total of 55 houses have so far been constructed in the village through the federation. Each member is required to contribute any amount towards the group’s account, which will enable them to qualify for a house.
“We started saving up to construct houses since 2019 and we were given approval from the council in November 2020 to go ahead and construct our houses. The members who are benefiting from the funds donated by MTC have plots already and started with the construction of their houses since January. Some houses have foundations but because of lack of materials, construction came to a halt,” said Stewe.
She said the group only received the funds from MTC early this month.
“We have already submitted quotations for building materials, so we are just waiting for them to be delivered so that we can continue constructing the houses,” she added.
Simonie Samuels, a member of the Ada/gai group in Gibeon, said the group, which only became active last year, plans to construct 20 more houses after the 13 houses sponsored by MTC have been completed.
“MTC has granted us this opportunity to build houses and have a roof over our heads. Although the houses are small, they are still our houses,” said a jovial Samuels.
Hardap governor Salomon April, who officiated at the groundbreaking ceremony of the construction of the houses, applauded MTC and its partners for the noble gesture.
“Give the people land and the rest will follow. Having an erf and a house makes one feel like they have an identity,” said April.
The governor is, however, saddened by the housing problem for low-income public servants such as teachers and police officers who find it difficult to get housing loans, and therefore urged the business fraternity to design a specific programme that caters to them.
He praised the SDF members for taking the initiative to construct their houses themselves from scratch.
“Thank you SDF for participating in your own development,” April added. He assured the members that government will work together with the federation and encouraged everyone to work as a team to support the initiatives of the federation.
The SDF also received an additional N$1 million from Pupkewitz Namibia to construct 24 houses in Maltahohe. Two hundred more houses will soon be constructed in Mariental.
Since 2018, MTC has committed to lending a helping hand towards the SDF by providing financial support through the Buy-a-Brick initiative in collaboration with Standard Bank Namibia. An amount of N$800 000 was donated towards the federation which was followed by an additional capital support of N$10 million by MTC and Huawei.