WINDHOEK – The Mangetti Dune Primary School, which comprises mainly of the marginalised San-speaking learners, has been refurbished thanks to generous donations from the private sector. The school accommodates 363 learners and has 14 teachers.
The school’s hostel accommodation, dining hall and kitchen infrastructure were refurbished. The school also received a new supply of tables, chairs, crockery and cutlery, all which are expected to boost morale and self-esteem of staff and learners at the school.
A thankful school principal Menesia /Gomes said the situation changed at the boarding school after the refurbishment. “Boarders are increasing. Most learners were taken back by their parents because there was no space in the hostel. We are so happy and proud of Haritage Caterers. Learners are now enjoying their meals on tables with forks. Today we can separate the juniors from the seniors,” she said of the new development at the school.
The school was formerly a colonial military base and is located more than 200 kilometres from Grootfontein in the Tsumkwe area in the Otjozondjupa Region. The once dilapitated school is in an area where many parents can hardly afford a decent meal in a community ravaged by alcohol abuse, with people drinking the traditional homebrew known as ‘munati’.
The private sector responded to the call from the Ministry of Education in 2012, when the ministry asked that contracted catering companies servicing public schools look at the condition of the cooking and dining facilities at the school hostels they serve.
Haritage Caterers, which serves the Mangetti Dune school, realised the needs of the school and forked out N$720 000 to refurbish the school hostel.
“This is where Haritage Caterers took the call for assistance seriously and embarked on the Mangetti Dune project with vigour and excitement. Haritage Caterers chose Mangetti Dune school to upgrade first because of their secluded location and the severe marginalisation of the community,” said Haritage Caterers chairperson Meutumbala Shingenge-Haipinge last week Friday when opening the newly refurbished facilities at the school.
However, the school is still in need of solar power panels and is hoping a good Samaritans will come to their aid.
Currently the school uses a diesel generator for power. “Power is the main challenge. We have a computer laboratory but we don’t use it because we don’t have power. Since it’s a boarding school and the generator breaks down the food gets rotten,” said /Gomes.
Transport is another major challenge. “There is a lack of transport especially during out weekends and holidays. Learners often get stranded and are delayed in returning to school from their villages. Sometimes I use my private vehicle to pick them up from their villages because I really want them to be at school to learn,” /Gomes said.
The school was also awarded a floating trophy on Thursday for best performing primary school in the Tsumkwe constituency.
Haritage Caterers chairperson Shingenge-Haipinge said the company “believes in empowering communities by sourcing food resources from local producers and restoring dignity and self-worth in the people we are in contact with.”
By Albertina Nakale