By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK EVEN though the Festive Season is a time for sharing meals and gifts with loved ones, there are people in society who are not so fortunate as to relish such moments. In light of this, the First Lady Penehupifo Pohamba hosted the annual Christmas Party for over 100 children orphaned by HIV/AIDS, widows and widowers at the Parliament Gardens last Friday. “It’s a spirit of caring and stretching out a warm hand to the less fortunate,” said one caregiver. For them, the singing of Christmas carols and enjoying a donated lunch was a delightful moment, particularly at this time of the year. Under the auspices of the First Lady, the Organisation for the Empowerment of Widows/Widowers and Orphans of HIV/AIDS in Namibia (OEWONA) was launched on November 4 this year. Highlighting the objectives of the organisation, the First Lady said its goal was to create a framework for supporting, protecting and promoting the well-being of people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. “Our aim is to empower the vulnerable members of our society and to ensure that their standards of living are improved to enable them to remain active citizens of this country,” stressed the First Lady. The organisation would seek to distribute all its available resources to address the plight of the needy in an effort to minimise the effects on AIDS orphans, widows and widowers. It is also through OEWONA’s resources that mothers who are unable to breast-feed receive formulae milk, anti-retroviral treatment and psychosocial support. Although there was a high number of children and widows present at the Christmas Party, the number of widowers was less. Speaking to New Era, HIV/AIDS activist Agnes Tom said that it was not an easy task for men to come to such public events. “It’s very difficult for widowers because everyone is pointing fingers at them, but their presence here encourages other men to come and seek support,” she added. One of them was a rather shy David Bonisius who lost his wife late last year. On his part, he wishes that men would also come and seek assistance. At the end of the party, Reverend Dr Tshapaka Kapolo urged Namibians to teach their children about their family history, especially during a time when Christmas means spending more time with your loved ones and families. The event ended with entertainment from children from four organisations, namely, Catholic Aids Action Orphan Group, Namibia Children’s Home, After School Care Centre and Mount Sinai Centre.
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