OSHAKATI - Oonte Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) Centre in Ondangwa held a fundraising event on Saturday, 21st September as part of its 10th anniversary celebration to raise funds for sustaining the centre’s operations.
Established in 2009, the centre is a beacon of light and hope to over 650 orphans and vulnerable children from areas surrounding Ondangwa that relies on the centre for among other activities five meals a week, school and vocational support, psycho-social and emotional support through after school programmes, short term camps, kids clubs, choir, dance club, sport and informal counseling at the centre.
The centre also provides food parcels to needy households around Ondangwa town.
Speaking at the event, Petrine Shiimi, founder and Executive Director of Oonte OVC expressed gratitude to various international and local donors that has immensely assisted the centre in its 10 years of existence. “It is through God’s grace and tremendous support from so many donors since Oonte’s humble beginnings that I am able to share with you how Oonte’s reach has expanded dramatically, this work would never have been possible and we are so profoundly grateful for God’s grace and so many incredible partners, stakeholders, donors and volunteers,” stated Shiimi.
“Our task however is far from complete, we must not rest, we must all continue to work hard to create hope for these children,” further stated Shiimi after highlighting that the recent economic downturn and the drought situation has increased hunger and poverty of the children and it has further severely impacted the centre’s ability to produce its own food and income from their gardens, fish pond and animal farm, adding that without additional funds, the centre will not be able to provide the children with meals and food parcels they desperately need. Shiimi additionally alluded that the main international donor Elma Philanthropies from South Africa is ending their funding contract this year unless Oonte has demonstrated that local companies can support the centre.
“Many of Namibian donors that we have relied upon have recently stopped funding us because of their own financial challenges, without sufficient funding from new Namibian donors, we will lose all funding from our key international donor,” she said.
Former first Lady Penehupifo Pohamba who officiated the event applauds local and international partners and stakeholders for the immense contribution towards Oonte and she called on all able Namibians to render their support towards making a difference in the lives of Namibian children. “I urge all patriotic citizens private and corporate to join hands, and show support to Oonte and the children,” urged Pohamba.
Several Namibian companies and private individuals came on board to assist the centre both financially and in kind and more than N$700 000 was raised with many individuals promising to contribute food and non-food items to the centre.
Companies include FNB Namibia, Namibia Breweries Limited, Debmarine Namibia, Nam-Mic, Mukwamalanga Tukondjeni Community Trust, NamPower, Opuwo Fishing Company, Kapia Optics, Ohlthaver & List, and Metro Cash & Carry.
*Aina Simon is an Information Officer in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) based in Oshakati.