Opuwo kindergarten struggling without chairs, books and toys

15 Mar 2014 10:40am
OPUWO, 15 MAR (NAMPA) – A community kindergarten and pre-primary school in Opuwo is appealing for assistance in the form of shelter, chairs and food for their children who mostly come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The pre-primary school, located in the Otuzemba residential area and called Ngaturihonge Pamwe, was started this year by three volunteer teachers who take care of the children and teach them from Monday to Friday.
According to Pato Amutenja, the lead teacher at the pre-primary school, they have 60 children registered to attend pre-primary school for free despite the lack of a shaded area and chairs on which to sit for the duration of the class.
Nampa drove to the tree which is used as the teaching venue for the pre-primary school on Monday, and saw how the children who are gathered under that tree sit on stones and bricks, with the only chair belonging to the teacher.
There is nothing for the children to write on – no proper books, paper or toys to play with.
The children could however greet guests in English and they were able to count.
“We bought photocopy paper and made our own books out of that, which we give to our learners. We use a box as our blackboard on which we paste letters and numbers when we teach the children,” noted Amutenja.
She added that the pre-school had only 10 pencils at first when they started, and these pencils were shared amongst the 60 children.
Due to the limited number of pencils, they used to ask 10 children at a time to write first while the others are playing. Once the first 10 children finish writing, another group of 10 would start using the pencils until all of them have had a chance to write.
The teachers use bottle caps to teach the children how to count, and also for them to learn about the different colours.
“The school has just received 40 pencils from Magic Discount Shop here in Opuwo, and that donation will make a big difference as all children will now have a pencil to write with,” said Amutenja.
She added that they are forced to only keep the children up to 11h30 because they do not have a shade or food for them to eat at the pre-primary school.
According to Amutenja, some of the children bring food along to school while the majority come empty-handed.
“We cannot ask for even N.dollars 10 from their parents, as they would simply stop the children from coming to the school because they do not have the money,” she said.
She has requested good Samaritans to assist the school with a shade, chairs, desks and food items for the children to have a meal every day when they are at school. She said donations of writing material and toys are also welcome.
According to Amutenja, they took the name of their pre-primary school to the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare (MGECW) for possible assistance, and they are still waiting for an official from that ministry to visit them.
Approached for comment, Ueutjerevi Ngunaihe, the Community Liaison Officer with the MGECW, confirmed that the ministry has indeed received the request for assistance as well as an application for the registration of Ngaturihonge Pamwe Kindergarten and Pre-primary School.
He said he has been planning to visit the kindergarten and to provide possible support after his ministry’s budget for the year has been approved.
According to Ngunaihe, the teachers of that new pre-primary school in Otuzemba have already been offered training through the MGECW.
“We usually receive N.dollars 30 000 per year for kindergarten and pre-primary schools per region. This is limiting us to assist only a handful of kindergartens and pre-primary schools in the region,” he explained.
The Kunene Region currently has 79 community and church-based kindergartens and pre-primary schools. Ten new applications have been received for the registration of new kindergartens and pre-primary schools this year in the Epupa and Opuwo constituencies alone.
Ngunaihe assured this news agency that he was going to visit the kindergarten and pre-school during the course of this week.
Amutenja's contact number is 0812990432 for people who want to assist the children and the pre-school.