An afterschool centre in Havana that received donated computers from South Korean nationals to be able to offer free lessons to pre-school children cannot use the equipment because the kindergarten does not have electricity.
The head of the centre, Josephine Nelenge said they got a quotation to install a transformer and to be connected to the electricity grid, but the asking fee is steep: N$400 000.
Asked if they have considered alternative sources of power, she said they are receptive to the idea, but had not yet worked out the cost of the solar panels they would need.
Nelenge said they currently have about 150 learners, who come to the centre daily for homework assistance, extra lessons in mathematics and reading assistance by volunteers from South Korea. There is a library and they also have Sunday school for children from the Havana informal settlement.
Nelenge started the Smart Kid Kindergarten, which has 90 children, divided into three groups, based on their age. “I showed the sponsors [South Koreans] the quotation, but they said it is too costly. We are asking the president to come and visit our centre and see what we are doing here,” said Nelenge, who was at pains to emphasise that they desperately need assistance.
She said they also received food, clothes and other items from the sponsors, which they handed to the learners, former learners and needy members of the community.
“They also sponsored school uniforms for former learners, who are now in formal schools,” Nelenge said.
At a recent awards ceremony the centre recognised its best-performing afterschool learner, Albertina Amadhila.
Nelenge told parents at the occasion that they wanted to show them how useful it is to send their children to the after school centre. Nelenge also asked parents not to stop their children from attending afternoon classes. “You must follow up with their teachers to enquire if your child was indeed at school, because some come, but just to play,” she advised parents at the event.
Amadhila’s mother, Anastasia Aimanya, 40, said she wants her daughter to improve in school and that is why she sends her for after-school classes. “I’m happy with her progress and if she continues like this she will reap good fruits in future,” Aimanya said.
Aimanya believes the after-school assistance is really helping her daughter, who goes to the centre for assistance when she has homework that she does not understand.