GROOTFONTEIN – HANO is a non-profit youth organisation whose mission is to uplift the youth and at the same time sensitise them against the dangers of teenage pregnancy.
“I went to bed hungry more times than I can recall, I know how it feels to sleep on an empty stomach. I know what it means to walk to school because you cannot afford transport, to want to go to school only to be told there is no money for school fees. Coming from a poor family combined with the thought that there are still people stuck where I was, prompted me to start this organisation, which will give people hope because hope is a dangerous thing to lose,” says Noki Kaapehi one of the founders of HANO.
In addition to motivating young people HANO encourages abstinence as well as safe sex.
The organisation previously had branches in Otjituuo, Grootfontein, Omaheke, Opuwo, Windhoek, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. The two branches at the coast were merged on May 23 last year.
Founded in 2010, HANO is still a new kid on the block though it has hit the ground running with two garden projects in the Otjozondjupa Region.
The main aim of the gardens is to provide a variety of vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, beans, potatoes, maize, pumpkins and onions to less fortunate learners in nearby schools as well as less privileged people in the broader society who may not be able to afford greens.
Another garden is in Otjituuo, which provides the same services to nearby schools and communities where HANO is a registered welfare organisation with the Ministry of Health and Social Services. The gardens are funded by the American Embassy.
The name HANO was derived from the names of its two main founders Steve Handura and Noki Kaapehi.
According to HANO coastal branch chairperson Clarence Mungedje challenges facing HANO include a lack of patience among youth.
“Young people lack patience and tend to expect instant results. Another issue plaguing my branch is the high level of drug and alcohol abuse among youngsters,” said Mungendje.
Poor attendance and dropping out were some of the other challenges cited as problematic for HANO.
“Some people come to HANO thinking we are going to sponsor them or their businesses and these misconceptions are what drive the youth and other people out the door. We help vulnerable children and those who are living with HIV/AIDS, offering motivation to the youth. Where we can, we pay the school fees of a learner or foot the bill for stationery for a period of time,” added Mungendje.
“Seeing people who came from nothing become a success and even owning their own organisations has truly motivated me to aim higher,” said Fredric Awaseb a secondary school learner.
“The charity work is reward enough for me … benefitting other people is payment enough for me,” said Sasha Tjijenda a member of the HANO executive committee.
A member of the newly established HANO Grootfontein branch Grace Maetja told New Era the benefits from doing volunteer work for the organisation include keeping her busy and out of trouble.
HANO marked its fourth anniversary with motivational speeches, a beauty pageant and sport like soccer and netball games.
By John Travolter Matali