By Frederick Philander
“We are officially launching an exciting new component of the United States Ambassador’s Girls’ Scholarship Program by welcoming this first group of boys into the program marking an important step forward in our effort to increase educational opportunities for Namibian children.”
This was said last Wednesday by the American Ambassador Dennise Mathieu at a girls’ scholarship boys’ component at Rehoboth. The Deputy Minister of Education, Dr Becky Ndjoze-Ojo, also attended the event.
“Each year program we have assisted 950 girls in grades 1 through 7 to go to school, stay in school and do well in school. Last year we initiated the AGSP Plus program under which we helped 545 girls continue beyond Grade 7 and attend grades 8 through 12. The inclusion of boys builds on the success and the promise of the Ambassador’s Girls’ Scholarship Program, which was initiated three years ago,” she said at the Oanob Primary School hall.
According to her the programme will over the next year support a total of 200 boys in grades 1 through 7. The boys in this program will receive school uniforms, school supplies, boarding and lodging fees, as well as counseling.
“I’m very pleased that we have the opportunity to invest in the education of these bright young boys – who have worked so hard – that we help them succeed in school and move on to the next level of education. Helping girls and boys stay in school and do well in school prepares them to meet life’s challenges. It also will help them contribute to economic development and the spread of democratic values in Namibia, and to become a positive influence for future generations,” she said.
A good basic education is an especially powerful weapon in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Education arms young people with the knowledge and skills they need to prevent infection – and to help others do likewise.
“Education also helps overcome the conditions that facilitate the spread of HIV – notably poverty, unemployment and violence against women and children. And, of course, education contributes to the understanding and tolerance required to reduce stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS,” the ambassador said.
The American Government is pleased to partner with Namibia to help the nation realize the dream of a top quality education for all its children.
“In this regard, I’d like to thank the Forum for African Women Educationalists in Namibia and the Evangelical Lutheran Church AIDS Program for doing an outstanding job in implementing this program. I’d also like to thank the principals from Rehoboth and their staff, and the learners, parents and guardians from the various schools in Rehoboth, especially the Oanob Primary School for hosting this event today,” she concluded.