The Onyose Trust will need close to N$100 000 a month to fulfill its mandate of caring for people with disabilities and train them in informal English literacy, numeracy, craft skills, horticulture and cooking.
The centre also needs a physiotherapist and occupation and speech therapists but it lacks the funds to enlist the services of these much-needed experts.
Onyose had to sell off the vehicle it used to transport learners to and from school, and discontinue some of its gardening programmes while some teachers resigned for greener pastures, leaving only the director, one teacher, a volunteer, driver and cook at the centre.
The centre in Khomasdal now only has 25 learners while it has a capacity to house over 45-plus people.
It also had to discontinue its community-based rehabilitation programme and now only runs the day care programme.
Namibia’s rating by the World Bank as an upper middle-income country has led to Onyose’s donors discontinuing funding the centre, having been convinced that the country has enough money to take care of its own problems. This left the coffers dry.
The project, which was once owned by the Ehafo Trust, became an independent institution in 2004. Onyose Trust Director Ebenecia Tjiveta said they previously received some money from the Ministry of Health and Social Services, and still receive a subsidy grant per child from the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, while a South African foundation assists them periodically.
“The only money we get from government is a subsidy from the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, which gives N$200 per child. The health ministry is supposed to give us money but due to some outstanding documents … needed by the auditors, that source has been stopped,” she further explained.
“Currently we are not operating in the manner in which we have operated in the past, because in 2013 three staff members resigned and we have informed the parents that we do not have transport – so anyone that can bring their children, or if the children can walk to the centre, it is still open,” she explained.
“The programmes are going on as usual – breakfast, usual activities, lunch, and then some walk home while others get picked up,” said the Onyose Trust director.
“The garden used to operate efficiently and we used to get vegetables and funds from there but now since the past three years it has been a struggle to get people to run the garden for us. The previous years we had people running the garden and they would pay us monthly rental fees,” Tjiveta said.
She added that currently a group is renting some parts of the gardening areas for N$1 000 per month, while most of it remains unoccupied and idle.
Tjiveta stressed: “We need transport, teachers, volunteers, food for the kitchen, in fact we need money because we do not have permanent donors.”
Deputy Minister of Marginalised Communities in the Presidency Alexia Manombe-Ncube maintained that the government appreciates the work done by Onyose Trust.
“Organisations of its kind complement government efforts in trying to work towards inclusivity and prosperity and for no one to be left out,” Manombe-Ncube noted.
“Onyose is a welfare organisation and as far as I know they should receive a welfare subsidy through the ministry of health, provided their financial records conform with requirements.”
She continued: “They are our stakeholders … and our aim is to strengthen our ties with all our stakeholders.”