WINDHOEK – Auguste Shikongo is a young Namibian PhD candidate who wants to take her studies further and specialise in social work. “I see the way I grew up and I want to bring some changes to those people,” she said.
“I have family members who are struggling and live in informal settlements,” she pointed out.
“I have noticed how those vulnerable kids are struggling, some of them have dropped out of school because of the lack of funds and we have to find means and ways because their parents are not educated. Children need to be educated, it’s a fundamental right,” said Shikongo.
After completing her studies, Shikongo is interested in contributing to policies that will cater to the vulnerable and people from marginalised communities.
“I know that it is going to be hard but I am going to try my level best after completing my PhD because, after this, I know that I am going to get more knowledge on policy making,” said Shikongo.
“My interest is in social welfare policy, especially orphans and vulnerable children or any need that has to do with children. The policy that Namibia has is not really catering to children,” she stated.
She pointed out if one goes to some informal settlements, children are suffering.
“Whenever you go to relevant authorities to ask for aid, they always have excuses and that is totally unacceptable especially for institutions that are tasked with the issues you want to address,” said Shikongo. The lack of access for some communities to certain facilities is a concern to Shikongo. “A lot needs to change in Namibia, as far as service delivery is concerned. You will get school-going children that are travelling a long distance to go to school while the government can easily build a school in that area especially if the number of students is large,” she said.
Shikongo, who will be jetting to the United States of America to pursue a PhD in social work, says there are a number of youths that are trying their level best to give back to the community. However, the problem lies with assistance from some institutions and that hinders progress.
“Imagine when I came for holidays while studying in the USA, I got hold of donors who were willing to sponsor my project of building a school in the informal settlements. They required certain documentation from particular companies to fund my project of building it. I had everything except land and when I approached the relevant people they kept on saying they will get back to me. I have been busy with this project since 2016,” she related.
In July this year, Shikongo who obtained her Master’s degree in social work from an American-based university will bid farewell to the land of the brave for four years. She will pursue a PhD in social work at Purdue University in Indiana State, USA. Shikongo is also a Unam alumnus in the same field.
Shikongo did not get where she is because of handouts. “My dream was always to be a nurse but that didn’t happen as I performed poor in English, so I repeated,” she said. “I have the passion to work with people, to help those who are in need of guidance in their lives,” she added.
Shikongo advised fellow Namibian youths who get opportunities to study abroad to be good ambassadors. “Follow the rules of that country and make sure you obey them, what’s acceptable in your country might not be applicable in the state where you are going, make sure you study the culture of the people you are going to be surrounded with,” she cautioned.
2019-05-15 12:08:28 4 months ago