A 42-year-old teacher has decided to put his money where his mouth is by investing the overwhelming majority of his salary in the upliftment of vulnerable children.
Johannes Matheus spends about 95% of his salary to provide early childhood education to 143 children that often roam around the streets of Goreangab informal settlement in Windhoek. The commerce teacher at PK De Villiers Secondary School in Keetmanshoop said he founded the Kid-Care Kollege in 2009 with his savings of N$15 000 to cater for vulnerable, orphans and street kids in the area.
He said he created the foundation to create a culture of giving to the society in which he lives and to help needy children. The teacher added what he is doing for the children in the community today is a trend from his parents’ influence, as he grew up with so many children from different unknown families in his village and all treated equally. “I am a Roman Catholic by religion. I grew up, educated and taught in Catholic schools for many years. My love for education and children mainly comes from there,” he said.
“I treasure children and always want the best for them. To me, children are like angels. I can sacrifice the little I have for them, so much so that they get the best always.” Matheus said the care foundation was established with only 53 children and it currently has 143 children and eight caregivers.
“As the college grows rapidly, I decided to use my salary of N$21 000 to cater for food, caregivers as well as operational purposes. The reason I gave away my salary every month is that I survive on the profit generated from my parents’ businesses I inherited since they passed on,” he explained.
He said one of the businesses he runs is a property rental operation, which gives him around N$40 000 per month. “Imagine I have free shelter as I am staying at my parents’ house here.
I took over their businesses that are doing so well. Why can’t I help people who are in need? I decided to create a culture of giving in our society,” he said. He said another main aim of the centre is to provide childcare and early childhood education to the children in the informal settlement of Goreangab.
“Hence the name Kid-Care Kollege. Since 2019 to date, I dedicated over 95% of my monthly salary to the childcare centre to help with the care and early education needs of children that were roaming around in the streets. Ever since then, when I give that, I always feel like I received back, as I feel pleased and fulfilled,” he said.
Matheus also said as the number of children continues to increase on the daily basis, they now have 15 more needy children on the waiting list, whose struggling parents have requested accommodation but he is unable to help them because his source of finance is stretched to the maximum.
“Hence, we cannot accommodate any extra. Although we want to help all children that come to knock at our doors, we have seriously limited resources to support all needy children. Educating one child per month cost me over N$190, to say the least. It cost more to ensure that every child’s basic educational needs are met."