16 Jul 2013 08:50
WINDHOEK, 16 JUL (NAMPA) ? The Church Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) says people should support Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) to help change their world for the better on Mandela Day.
Mandela Day, which is celebrated on 18 July every year, is aimed at inspiring individuals to take action to help change the world for the better, and in so doing, build a global movement for good.
The day was officially declared by the United Nations (UN) in November 2009, as it is also world icon and South Africa?s first Black President Nelson Mandela?s birthdate.
CAFO Executive Director Dr Henry Platt, who made the remarks in a statement availed to Nampa on Tuesday, said CAFO focuses especially on early childhood centres, and its goal is to mobilise and sustain community-based resources for OVCs.
In 2013, alone the organisation supported 101 kindergartens through assistance from the United States? Agency for International Development (USAID), and provides educational, health, nutritional and psycho-social support to children.
?Orphans make up 16 per cent of the population, but only 13 per cent of young children attend Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres. Of those, only one out of 10 young children in rural areas attend ECD centres,? Platt noted.
Although Government provides social welfare grants to 145 452 OVCs in the country, many children still do not receive proper care.
The Executive Director indicated that it is impossible for Government to shoulder the task alone, and thus called on communities, churches, the private sector and other stakeholders to also bear the responsibility of looking after Namibian children.
?During 2012, USAID assisted the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare (MGECW) to develop national ECD standards, and a national ECD curriculum to improve the quality of care provided by the centres,? he explained.
Once a centre complies with these standards, it can register with and receive a subsidy from the MGECW and become sustainable.
?However, most CAFO-managed ECD centres still need more financial and in-kind assistance than that provided by USAID to offer quality services to the children in their care,? Platt stressed.
He, therefore, called on communities to contribute, even if it is in small ways, to OVCs in the different areas. Educational toys such as puzzles and blocks will be especially welcome.
?Crayons, paper to draw on, colouring books, story books for young children, warm clothes for children under six and food will also be welcomed,? Platt noted.