The education ministry recently received food supplements for marginalised children at Early Childhood Development Centres (ECDCs), as well as educational supplies for children with disabilities and special needs from the Japanese government and Unicef.
The educational supplies included tablet computers, as well as hearing aids and headsets for learners with hearing impairment, while the food supplements included fast, nutritious porridge and powder milk.
The donation was part of the project called ‘Preventing and mitigating the impact of Covid-19 and overlapping emergencies on nutritional, learning, and health outcomes of vulnerable children in Namibia’.
This project was implemented in March this year through Unicef with Japanese funding totalling US$586 000 (approximately N$9 472 690).
At the official handover, Harada Hideaki, Japan’s ambassador to Namibia, said his government remains committed to ensuring children from marginalised communities, as well as those with disabilities and other special needs can live a healthy and fulfilling life by improving their learning environment.
Lourencia Gaoses, principal of Eros Girls School, expressed gratitude for the donation. “We are grateful for this significant contribution because we noticed that our students were becoming hungry, because feeding programmes are school-based and when we returned from lockdown, we noticed some of the students appeared malnourished,” she said.
Faustina Caley, deputy education minister, said the funds will ensure the provision of food for 31 identified ECDCs in marginalised communities of Omaheke, Kavango East, Kavango West, and Zambezi regions, as well as the training of 64 educators in play-based learning.
Over 1 900 children are expected to benefit from this feeding programme for 7-10 months, beginning in January 2022 when schools resume. As the country prepares to commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Friday (3 December), Rachel Odede, the Unicef representative to Namibia, said they will continue to offer support to ensure opportunities for all while meeting the UN sustainable development goals.