Distribution Committee Will Benefit San People in All 52 Villages

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By Wezi Tjaronda WINDHOEK Although the lives of the San community living in Epukiro improved in 2006, the issue of birth certificates to children and food distribution need to be improved. Most San children when born are not given birth certificates, making it difficult for them to be registered for orphan grants when their parents die. Epukiro Regional Councillor Brave Tjizera told New Era recently that, to improve the situation, there is need for coordination among three ministries, namely: the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Labour and Social Services, to handle the issue of birth certificates, registration of orphans and pension payouts. He said officials from the three ministries should travel to constituencies where the San live, to register births. Without this, he said, many San children live without documents that could enable them to benefit from welfare grants, and the elderly cannot get their pension payouts which happens to be the only source of income among many senior citizens. Due to lack of a distribution committee, it has also been difficult for the regional constituency office to reach all San households to give them food. When relief food is available, San households receive mealie meal and cooking oil, which is sometimes distributed only after three months. Tjizera said the constituency would now have a distribution committee which would attempt to hand out food to the San living in all 52 villages in the constituency. The lives of the San have improved somewhat in that they received tents and mattresses last year to better their living standards, while San school-going children were given clothing. Another problem that prevents the San children from staying in school is the lack of accommodation, as some schools do not have government hostels. The majority of the children are enrolled at three schools at Omuhaturua, Otjijarua and Post 10. The constituency has made a proposal for a school complete with hostel to be built with funds from the German Special Initiative. Some of the projects that were undertaken include sheep-farming in Okatuuo and a vegetable garden in Post 3 as wel as in Okatuuo. The gardens have not yet been ploughed because the projects took too long to ask for implements and a tractor from the relevant ministries because of uncertainties about the rains. This year, the constituency office also intends to help the San chief to change his Otjiherero surname to a San name for him to be identified as a San. At present, the councillor said the people do not understand how a chief with a different name can claim to represent the San. He bears the surname ‘Kanguatjivi’. “It is difficult for him to help his community even though he is very active. He attends all the meetings, but he cannot disseminate that information to his subjects,” said Tjizera, adding that with a pension payout of N$370, the chief also has difficulties in visiting his subjects. “We are hoping to have his name changed so that he can be recognized,” Tjizera concluded.