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Stadium shelters the homeless

2020-04-07  Selma Ikela

Stadium shelters the homeless
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Selma Ikela

About 246 people without shelter from Khomas region were temporarily relocated to makeshift accommodation at Katutura Youth Complex and Khomasdal Soccer Stadium during the duration of the entire lockdown affecting Khomas and the Erongo regions.
A psychosocial team, under a Covid-19 task force comprising of officials from the ministry of health, ministry of gender, City police, Khomas regional council and City of Windhoek are looking into the plight of those without shelter in Windhoek.   
It is projected there are 900 people without shelter in Khomas.
Part of those accommodated at Katutura Youth Complex are people who live on the streets without permanent residence and former members of South West Africa Territorial Force (SWATF) and ex-Koevoet soldiers who were initially sheltered in Katutura at the late OvaHerero Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako’s residence and Commando in makeshift tents.   
The group had travelled to Windhoek from Opuwo in Kunene region about five years ago and been camping in Katutura central in protest of government refusal to recognise them as war veterans – an honour that would see them receive war veteran grants.

Khomas regional governor Laura McLeod-Katjirua said: “We are bringing anybody who does not have shelter. We call this a better home. Social distancing is taken into account-if you go in the tents you will witness that. There is a provision of sanitation, toilet, enough water and electricity.”
McLeod-Katjirua noted that the Universal Church came on board and is providing two meals per day (breakfast and dinner) for these people. 
“But the intention is to cater for lunch. If we can create a communal kitchen and do not give food to individuals, because the moment we give dry or uncooked food, it will mean they are going to create kitchen and the whole place will be full of kitchens,” said McLeod-Katjirua who expanded they need assistance with tents, cooking utensils and blankets to further assist the people.
The governor added that after the lockdown has been lifted, the intention is not to let these people live in limbo but also look at how to assist them going forward.
“When they get out from here, we are not going to tell them – go back where we took you from – because they have nowhere to go to, so we are collaborating to see if we can have a venue for them.”
In one of the tents is a family of seven that lives with a four-year boy who suffers from spastic cerebral palsy. 
His biological mother is unemployed and his grandmother Nguaundjokutja Tjimbua, who makes traditional hand made products like Omaere storage pots, provides for the boy, her husband and the rest of the family.  
Tjimbua said she has been unable to make some money as she sells her products to couples getting married but with the lockdown, there is social distancing and there are no weddings.  
As a result, Tjimbua said they do not have enough food for the family.
“We don’t eat, we just taste,” Tjimbua’s husband Janingiria added, saying they don’t get full from the food they get as a family.
In an adjacent tent is Tjambiru Uangandja who lives with seven other members. The woman said now they at least have two guaranteed meals than before. However, she is unable to move around to collect bottles and firewood to sell for an income. Hence, she is unable to buy food for her family. Uangandja appealed to anyone to donate blankets and food for her family.
Twenty-eight-year-old Jackson Pietersen who is bipolar and lives on the street, said the place is more accommodating and that he does not have many personal belongings. “There is no disturbance here. I have peace here compared to places where I stayed before,” said Pietersen


2020-04-07  Selma Ikela

Tags: Khomas
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