05 Dec 2015 16:00pm
WALVIS BAY, 05 DEC (NAMPA) - Namibias first gold medal winner Johanna Benson has registered a non-profit foundation in efforts to give back to the community by supporting disabled athletes in the country.
Although the Johanna Benson Foundation (JBF) is still to be officially launched in October 2016, community members and private companies from her home town of Walvis Bay have already availed more than N.dollars 100 000 to the foundation.
The pledges and auctioning of framed photos of Benson took place at a gala dinner announcing the establishment of the foundation at Walvis Bay on Friday.
Gendev Group pledged the highest amount of N.dollars 50 000 during the gala dinner.
Asking for further support, Bensons uncle Jeffrey Naobeb said the foundation is the brainchild of the athlete who wants to support other disabled athletes in realising their dreams.
The money will be used to promote and develop talented disabled athletes, give them education support in terms of finances, as well as buy and construct facilities for disabled sports events.
We want to tell the world that Benson started the foundation to give back to the community. For her to succeed she needs community and political support, he said.
Benson thanked all those who pledged, saying she wants to grow the foundation to a point where she will be able to help a lot of disabled athletes.
'I am glad the foundation is finally open so that we can continue to raise funds and support those who need help,' the athlete told Nampa.
Her message to people living with disabilities is that disability is not inability and if they work hard, they can be who they aspire to be.
'They must just believe in what they can do, one day they will achieve something just like myself,' she said.
Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Bernard Esau has been appointed as the patron of the JBF.
Esau donated N.dollars 5 000 and applauded Benson for the initiative. He also called for support for the foundation.
This is where dreams are realised and the impossible made possible, he said.
Benson was the first Namibian to win a gold medal when she won the 200 metre (m) T37 at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London in the United Kingdom.
She also won bronze in the 100m and 200m T37 events at the 2013 World Championships.
In 2013, Fiskaal Street in Walvis Bay's Kuisebmond residential area was renamed Johanna Benson Street in recognition of her achievements.