Julia Willem, a grade 12 learner at Windhoek Gymnasium, appreciates the opportunities given to her through the Talented Individual Programme (TIP), saying it stretches far beyond just financial aid.
The TIP of the One Economy Foundation (ONE) provides learners with an all-encompassing support system for excellence in and outside of school. An essential element of this system is the creation of opportunities for character and capacity building.
Speaking at the recent ONE fundraising dinner, Willem said although financial assistance is essential, the focus is also put on other aspects of a learner to ensure effective learning, a critical aspect being psycho-social support.
“ONE equipped us with critical life skills and developmental tools to help us succeed in the real world at full scale. Programmes such as these validate our dreams as young people,” said Willem, adding that this is not only an investment in their dreams as future leaders, but also the Namibian dream.
The TIP was conceptualised by First Lady Monica Geingos in 2016, with the main objective of creating access to educational chances for learners from all 14 regions in the country to benefit from a fellowship with access to quality education and concurrent development for their characters.
ONE chief executive Sem Mandela Uutoni maintained the ethos of ONE, which is to impact and change millions of lives, and admitted that for that to happen, the idea is to begin changing the life of one person at a time.
“It is an ambition which allows us to think creatively, as we design programmes and solutions to the various challenges our communities face,” he said at the same event.
One her part, Geingos said the interest of a learner takes precedence, hence work is done to ensure they are placed in the best schools.
“These learners are placed in the best schools possible, because the foundation believes in providing young people with the same opportunity that we would provide for our children,” said Geingos.
A matter close to her heart, and something she constantly preaches and allows learners to speak freely about, is sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
“Programmes and activities have demonstrated their significance. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, ONE expanded its SGBV programmes. As you may be aware, in times of crisis, there is an increase in SGBV,” shared Geingos.
Another programme implemented as a result of the pandemic is mobile vans aimed at providing psychosocial support for those who need someone to talk to.
ONE also conducted trauma debriefings for religious leaders and police officials.