Youth Project Honours Freedom Icon

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK Some young people are doing something worthwhile for themselves. About 40 youths have teamed up together in Wanaheda, Katutura to fight poverty and unemployment in the area. Started as a community project for young people of between the ages 15 to 25 years, two months ago, the initiative was named after well-known Namibian veteran and son of the soil John Otto Nankhudu. What started off as a youth group in the Samora Machel constituency has grown into a popular multi-purpose youth project that aims at uplifting not only its members, but also the community at large. On Friday, the youth took it upon themselves to introduce themselves to their patron Nankhudu at the constituency offices Samora Machel in Wanaheda. Many of them were proud of the occasion as they see Nankhudu as an inspiration for them and as a member of the very same community from which they come. “He inspires us a lot,” said one girl, while artistically inclined Gaven Muvangua donated an oil painting portrait of a Herero woman to the patron. Nankhudu is a historical icon for many people from this community. He was jailed on Robben Island for 20 years for leading the first military incursion into Namibia by Swapo’s military wing PLAN. The name ‘John Otto Nankhudu Multi-Purpose Youth Project’ was therefore chosen as this man is seen as “hero and role model”. Speaking to New Era at the occasion, Programme Coordinator Clara Coetzee said the main objective of the youth project is to give young people, especially school-leavers, skills training that would help them in the job market. “It’s holiday time and we are keeping them busy with a whole lot of things. Like the young girls are involved in home based care at the Red Cross Society, the boys are into bricklaying,” explained Coetzee who has a great passion for helping vulnerable members of society. In light of the fact that poverty has become a growing concern for the community of Wanaheda, young people see their project as a drive to pull out of this vicious cycle. “Because of poverty, our young people are falling victim to temptation and now sitting in jail, therefore we saw the need for doing something about this situation,” she said. Over the weekends or even weekdays, young people go about their chores to clean up all the litter while others opt to clean their neighbours’ yards as a positive gesture. “They are here for a purpose and we are here with a bang because we are sick and tired of the rubbish and dusty roads,” said Coetzee. By the looks of things, the project looks promising as these ethnically mixed groups of youngsters plan to make a difference and a positive contribution to their community. “We have to work like a slave to become a king one day,” said the programme coordinator. In the meantime, co-manager of the youth project Dr Analetu Haitembu said they are currently looking for more funds and training opportunities for their members in order to empower them. The project is appealing to good Samaritans or generous institutions to lend a helping hand. Plans are also under way to start a printing project for designing business cards, while other upcoming developments are focused on setting a small community newspaper.