Boxers Weigh In Support for San Project

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By Wezi Tjaronda WINDHOEK Reigning IBF and IBO world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko and his brother Vitali – former WBC heavyweight champion – who were this week in Namibia have pledged to popularize a project for the minority San people. The Ukrainian boxing stars join a growing list of celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and her movie star partner Brad Pitt who have visited Namibia and attended to the needy. The two heavies who came to Namibia as Unesco champions for sports said they will use their influence to popularize the early childhood development project for the San people for which Henkel, a German firm manufacturing Schauma, a popular hair product, has pledged financial assistance to support the continuation of and expansion of the project. The German firm will donate a portion of its proceeds from the sale of shampoo from September to December this year to the cash-strapped project. Katharina Wolf, the company’s representative said the firm was optimistic that it will collect a pile of money that it will funnel towards needy San children. “We can make the vision come alive for most of the San children,” she said two days ago. Wolf was part of the Unesco mission, which included Unesco champions for sports, the Klitschko brothers that visited Namibia to make an assessment of the progress of the San project, evaluate the results and confirm commitment for its continuation. The visit also aimed at making the project more visible nationally and internationally. Studies in 2000 identified the San as the most disadvantaged and isolated community in the Ohangwena region with very limited access to services and development opportunities. This resulted in an intervention in 2002 to promote the participation of San children in ECD in Ekoka, Endobe and Onamatadiva. The Education for Children in Need Programme and Foundation therefore identified Henkel as a donor for the continuation of the ECD projects and also for the expansion to West Caprivi. “We will support the San project in West Caprivi as the focus of our project. We will make the project known and promote it under the brand name Schauma,” said Wolf. The Klitschko brothers also promised to make the project known for the San children because it is important to care for the children’s future. They said it was important to give energy and time for the needs of the children for them to develop society and give the children a chance. Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare Marlene Mungunda, who represented the Deputy Prime Minister Libertina Amathila told the press that Unesco was working hard to improve the plight of the San. “The presence of the Klitscko brothers is helping to let the media and thus the public at large know what is happening in Namibia, in particular to the San people,” she said. The Education for Children in Need Programme is one of the partners that Unesco has attracted to support San communities in Namibia. It supports 180 projects in 87 countries. Some of the successes of the Ohangwena project are that 60 children have completed their pre-primary education at the end of the two-year project, 138 children were registered at three ECD centres, and 87 learners were enrolled in primary school. The mission visited Omega 1, Chetto, Onamatadiva and Eenhana where the delegation met community members, traditional authorities, teachers, local authorities and regional council officials.