Early Christmas for the Destitute

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK Hundreds of destitute and homeless people roaming the streets of Windhoek were yesterday pleasantly surprised with an early Christmas Party and gifts. The kind gesture comes after students from the Polytechnic of Namibia, together with sponsors, raised funds for disadvantaged people in the community. This is an annual event. The outreach activity focussed on the Loaf and Fishes Ministry for Street People from the St. George’s Anglican Cathedral. Many street people are provided with food every Wednesday at the church. A touching moment during the occasion was when children of Blinkogies Pre-Primary School hosted a colourful Christmas play, singing carols and putting smiles of the faces of the homeless people. Another highlight was when each and every person was provided with Christmas gifts, which were essentially plastic bowls containing food and toiletries. “I am very happy, and I will enjoy this food. Even this plastic bowl, I will use for washing myself,” said an elderly man who has been living on the streets for the past five years. For him and many others, this was an occasion to remember since Christmas gestures like this only come once a year. “I just want to thank the Lord for He has blessed us today,” said another woman full of smiles whilst holding her gift tightly. Speaking at the event, Rector of the Polytechnic of Namibia, Dr Tjama Tjivikua, said the gesture is part of the institution’s team effort to give something back to the community, especially those who are less advantaged than others. Life can be tough for these people as many, due to poverty and unemployment, end up on the streets and sleep under bridges. For them, life is a hopeless scenario, and any kind of upliftment or even just a helping hand from others is warmly appreciated. “Everybody in life deserves at least one good meal a day. It is therefore important to say that you are also a valuable person in life,” said Tjivikua. He noted that Namibians should have the social responsibility towards their community, as everyone is part and parcel of the community. As much as many Namibians will be celebrating Christmas on the actual day of December 25 this year, there are still many less fortunate people who don’t even have a proper meal, and events like this are a blessing for them. At the end of every year, the Office of the Dean of Students at the Polytechnic, together with students, organize an outreach activity for the poor and destitute. In 2004, it was the elderly of the Katutura Old Age Home who were given a similar Christmas party, while last year it was the Orphans and Vulnerable Children of the Mother’s Voice and Child Haven Orphanages who received their Christmas blessing. The aim of the outreach activity is to respond to the plight of disadvantaged Namibians, to let them also experience Christmas like any other Namibian, and at the same time to raise awareness amongst students on the needs of their communities. Even though one might think its still two months to Christmas Day, for these homeless people this is an event they will cherish for a very long time.