“Senior citizens are the backbone and pillars of Namibian society and the founders of foundations on which we build today and thus should never be neglected.”
Those were the words of the Deputy Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, Priscilla Boois when speaking at the handover of blankets and food to senior citizens at Mariental on Friday.
Boois noted with concern that despite government efforts to ensure elders live a decent life, some still live in destitute conditions as family members don’t care for their well-being.
She said despite receiving grants from the government, some senior citizens still languish in poverty, as the grants are used for other purposes, than that of maintaining them.
She pointed out that it’s the responsibility of the family members to ensure that the social assistance government provides to senior citizens is beneficial to them, adding that care should not only stop at providing material support.
“It doesn’t mean you just give them food, but make time for them and make sure they have a comfortable place to live in,” she said.
Boois further said the roles and responsibilities of individuals do not diminish with age, pointing out that government is cognisant of the fact that many senior citizens not only maintain themselves, but large and extended families as well, and this, she indicated, is why the grant was increased to the current N$1 100 from N$600.
Handing over the 500 blankets and 200 food parcels donated by Nampost, OKG Food Services and Namibia Grape Company, she said the donation is the beginning of the journey to eradicate poverty.
She however indicated that although it’s a good start, more should be done to ensure that more needy people are reached, and she called on other private sector entities to come on board and make donations.
“A journey starts with a single step and it’s my hope that this is the beginning of more donations.”
She urged the beneficiaries to make good use of the little they received to uplift themselves from poverty.
But with the senior citizens outnumbering the available blankets and food parcels, order had to be highly maintained to ensure that the neediest individuals received first, but it was a happy day for many of the elderly. Emillie Kisting, 79, had a few words of praise for the almighty God and the government for the good initiatives aimed at helping the elderly.
“The government has a long arm, it’s never short, and it stands for all of us,” she said.
Other senior citizens also expressed their happiness for receiving the blankets and parcels, saying the donation would help them a lot.