“Namibia is one of the highest investors in education and for that we thank you Namibian Government, for the free pre-primary education and for plans to make secondary education free. It is not the same all over Africa as young children in Nigeria, Malawi and Somalia are being robbed of their education through early marriages and sexual assault and other factors.”
These were the words of 15-year-old Iyaloo as she read a short speech at the Day of the African Child hosted by Family of Hope Services on their new site in Havana, Katutura. The Day of the African Child is held in memory of the more than 500 learners who lost their lives in the 1976 Soweto revolution in South African. The day is intended to celebrate the recognition of the human rights of children.
Hundreds of children showed up at the site and took part in the celebrations. There was dancing, poetry, Iyaloo’s speech, and a drama presentation. Students from the Namibian College of Arts attended as well and took photos of the event. One of their colleagues, Norman Job, worked for weeks with Family of Hope’s drama club to perform two plays he wrote and directed: 1. Entangled Conspiracy — a story involving a pastor, traditional healer and police officer that shows the corrupt practices and the abuse of power and position by individuals within our society; and 2. There’s No Sugar — a story about a young boy who cannot read and write at the age of 8 and how he survives with an alcoholic father, an abused mother, and a bully for a sister. The play exposes the social issues often at play in Namibia.
The event was a great success. “There are so many kids here. We never expected such a high turnout,” says Abigail Bachopi, Director of Family of Hope Services. “It’s rewarding to see the schools and community showing such support and collaboration in recognizing that we need to protect the rights of our children.”
The event was funded by Terres des Hommes out of Italy and Family of Hope Services. It is all part of promoting human rights in the community under the initiative which Family of Hope has been delivering in the community for two years.
But there is still a long way to go before vulnerable children in Namibia are enjoying the benefits of those who have money in Namibia and of the majority of children in the western world.
While Iyaloo thanked the Namibian Government for what they are doing for children so far, Iyaloo herself is a victim of circumstance and one of thousands of children whose guardians cannot afford to send them to school. In her speech she goes on to point out that,
“Even though we have free education in the younger grades, as children we feel that it’s not enough to have free education, but that other issues should be addressed as well. What is the point of having free education if pupils don’t have transport to school or they go to school hungry? It is vital that these issues are addressed.”
Iyaloo is one of the children on a waiting list for sponsorship for school at Family of Hope Services. She is fortunate that she can come to the Family of Hope Centre for tutoring but Iyaloo is unable to write her exams without a sponsor.
If you want to sponsor Iyaloo or any of the other children on our waiting list, please do here: