Upper middle-income classification claims more victims… as Hope Village survives on N$13,000
Lahja Nashuuta Windhoek-Ever since the World Bank re-classified Namibia as an upper middle-income country, many local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are struggling to remain afloat. Hope Village, an orphanage based in Greenwell Matongo in Windhoek, is one such organisation. New Era has learned that the institution is currently struggling to cater for about 91 children residing at the orphanage. Orphanage manager Kingstone Makoni, told New Era that the home has failed to attract donors, after Orange Babies, an international donor that hails from the Netherlands, pulled out in 2014, leaving them with no source of income to cover operational costs that include salaries and allowances for workers as well as municipality bills of the orphanage. Makoni maintained that the orphanage is now operating on a shoestring budget raised from government social grants for the 46 orphans living at Hope Village as well as assistance from good Samaritans. The money collected through the orphan grant amounts to about N$13,500 per month. “We are in a financial crisis since Orange Babies left us. The financial assistance we are receiving from the government, sponsors and from other institutions is not adequate to cater for the operational costs such as transport to take children to school as well as to take those that are on chronic medication to hospital,” Makoni said. He however, confirmed that feeding the children is not an issue – as there are donors who have availed themselves to provide food – however clothing them was proving a challenge due to lack of funds. Therefore, he said the orphanage is in a dire financial situation; as they also have to find funds to buy a school bus and to cater for about 22 volunteers’ allowances –whose stipends have been stagnant. “It is unfortunate that there are those volunteers that have been working for the orphanage for almost 15 years now and they are still getting an allowance of about N$2,000 (every month). While with regards to transport, we only have a seven-seater bus that we use to transport children to schools as well as to take those that are on treatment to hospital.” Makoni said although all 91 children are entitled to a government orphan grant of N$270 each, only 46 children are currently receiving the grant due to the fact that some of the children do not have birth certificates, a prerequisite to register for a grant. “It is a challenge because most of the orphans here are not on government grants. We were told that the delay is with the social workers, and the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare that is supposed to obtain a court order that will give the green light for us to register these children with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration for birth certificates.” Narrating the orphanage success stories, Makoni pointed out that so far all the children aged six and above are in formal schools of which four, are at tertiary institutions.
New Era Reporter
2018-01-24 09:01:15 9 months ago