WINDHOEK – The devil never sleeps and as such the greater society would hate to get caught in its slumber. The following is seemingly but one of the underlying reasons behind the establishment of one of Namibia’s newest additions to civil society.
Lidar Community Foundation, based in Katutura central, is acting as a house of safety for orphaned and vulnerable children and runs different empowerment programmes for girls in the greater Katutura area of Windhoek.
It is the brainchild of Sherley Khaxas, executive director, assisted by Maggie Ketji as deputy director. The idea came into being when a group of young women came together and saw a need to assist fellow Namibian girl children in central Katutura to become more progressive citizens. “Based on research and our own experience in our immediate area of Katutura central, 80% of our youth are school dropouts by the age of 16, mostly due to pregnancy, failure to progress past Grade 10, lack of proper family support, alcohol and drug misuse as well as the financial difficulties they face on a day to day basis,” informs Khaxas. She adds that the situation prompted the board of directors of Lidar to come up with an initiative to change the order of things.
“We saw it fit to change this scenario and find a way to better the circumstances of our girls in Katutura by making sure that all girls roaming the streets can be re-integrated into a proper education system to further their studies, and that children have proper support systems in place at a young age to be groomed for a better future for all,” Khaxas says. The organisation is currently opening school gates to hundreds of children who would otherwise have remained on the streets. It further assists these young people with homework while inculcating a reading culture in them. The foundation also provides food, counselling and other basic needs for families while running different education, empowerment and skills programmes for the girl child in the community at its centre in Damara Location, Erf 4026, Max Eixab Street, Katutura.
Clarifying the aims and objectives of the organisation, Ketji says it endeavours to develop a safe and a healthy neighbourhood for women, children and key populations through collaborative planning, community action and policy advocacy, while promoting community health, safety and development by connecting people, ideas and resources. She further reveals that it further aims to create awareness on sexual and reproductive health rights.
“Basically we aim to be a house of safety for orphaned and vulnerable children while educating vulnerable people on rights in conjunction with the Legal Assistance Centre and Women Action for Development,” says Ketji, adding that all this will be done along with a relentless promotion of basic hygiene through interactive learning programmes. Most importantly, the organisation aims to teach morals through involving faith-based organisations by offering regular Bible study programmes to adolescents. Recently the organisation provided training on hygiene, etiquette and age appropriate sexual reproduction education at its centre. The training was sponsored by Kaap Agri.