Student Single-handedly Tackles Poverty

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By Surihe Gaomas and Anna Ingwafa WINDHOEK With the old adage “Charity Begins at Home,” ringing in her ears, a young University of Namibia (Unam) student has managed to spearhead charity activities for the marginalised San community in Oshikoto Region. Through the Radio Energy Charity Fund, 22-year-old Vicky Dan, a third-year media student from Unam for the very first time in her life donated boxes of clothing, shoes and food to the impoverished San people on Farm Six. With a community of only close to 300 people, Farm Six is situated 120 kilometres from Tsumeb. Most of the residents at this farm live in squalid conditions. ” They cook their food in small tins and are therefore in need of our help,” said Dan as she expressed shock about the level of poverty in which the San people live today. She lamented: “Girls as young as twelve are already pregnant and hungry. Just imagine a 23-year-old lady has six children and another one on the way, it’s a pity.” Without any clinic or shop in the area, many of the San survive on hunting and gathering. “The San are still the most outcast population in Namibia because nobody shows that they care about Farm Six,” she said, wondering how long they would keep on living this way. If a member passed away, families cannot afford coffins and instead they bury them in black plastic bags. When it comes to education, farm conditions are pathetic in the sense that too many children are cramped in one classroom. For instance, grade one and two pupils are lumped together in one class, and three and four are put in the same classroom. Adding to this problem after completing grade five, the learners do not have a choice but travel on foot to Tsintsabis, which is 60km away from the farm. Ultimately, the long distance has resulted in many school dropouts. Based on her earlier assessment visit to Farm Six in April this year, Dan decided to host a fashion show under Radio Energy’s Charity Fund initiative, which was established by the former Miss Energy Maria Hiwilepo last year. Funds raised during the show ranged from clothing, shoes, blankets and food and much to her surprise, the event was a resounding success. “An advertisement was also run on the radio for listeners to make their donations at Radio Energy, ” said the young student. As part of the charity drive, she also managed to get generous gifts from other institutions like Shoprite, the Round Table and her church congregation Inner City. In the end, close to 48 households on Farm Six received a variety of goods ranging from basic commodities like maize meal, sugar, bread, to clothing and bedding. As the only child in the family, Dan said she’s got a passion to help other people who are less fortunate in life. ” For me I want to open people’s eyes and make them realise that we should not only wait for the Government but should act to make Vision 2030 possible.” Since this is the first project by this spirited media student, she is keen that more donations come her way. Though Namibia has one of the highest per capita incomes on the continent compared to other African countries, it has gaping income disparities when its rich are compared to the poor.

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