Rundu-Linus Shashipapo Secondary School, a severely dilapidated institution where learners sleep on cardboard and where sewer pipes have been dysfunctional for years, yesterday received 250 beds donated by local retail giant Rundu OK Foods supermarket.
Learners were so appalled by the slow response by the regional education directorate to respond to their demands for the school to be renovated immediately that they deserted the school, but after the directorate responded to their needs they will be back in class.
The beds will be used in the hostel where many learners have been sleeping on cardboard boxes and broken makeshift beds with worn-out mattresses and some without mattresses.
“We were made aware of this specific need and so we thought these beds could be useful to get those learners back into classrooms. This donation is not mine, it comes from the entire team of Rundu OK Foods staff and it’s our way of giving back to the community the little that we could – it’s our social responsibility,” said the Rundu OK Foods supermarket owner, Jose Machado, during the handover of the mattresses in Rundu.
The beds were officially received by Dr Samuel Mbambo, the Governor for Kavango East.
“The crisis of Linus Shashipapo is not only their problem but for all of us as a society and community and it should not only be left in the hands of the state. What you did Mr Machado is exemplary and should be emulated by all business men and women,” said the governor who heaped praise on Machado.
“I’m challenging all those that have attended Linus Shashipapo, including myself, to donate a mattress and a bed. I am going to start by donating a bed and a mattress,” Mbambo said.
“Let’s give back to the school – those of us who have attended this school are many and will make a difference by giving just a bed and a mattress, and leave the construction, renovation part [that will cost millions of dollars] to the government,” he added. He urged learners to take care of the beds and mattresses given to them as the donation did not come easy. The response from the regional council that also donated mattresses and Rundu OK Food’s donation came after New Era published a story highlighting the pathetic conditions at the government institution.
On Monday the school also received 223 mattresses from the Kavango East Regional Council and the education ministry is expected to deliver the remaining mattresses and beds for learners to return to school on Sunday for classes to resume next week on Monday.
The education directorate furthermore informed the school of the contractor who will come in to fix dysfunctional toilets and showers, as well as install new water and sewerage pipes to replace the old systems that are dysfunctional.
Learners of Linus Shashipapo Secondary School deserted the school over a week ago because of the blocked sewer pipes, huge structural cracks and ceilings that are caving in, while learners had to sleep on beds made from cardboard at the school that has been pleading for renovations for over a decade.
“The learners are still at home since last week. We will call them to report at the hostel on Sunday in order for them to start classes on Monday,” said the school’s headmaster Faustinus Shikukutu on Tuesday.