Learners go hungry at Otjomuru

15 Mar 2016 15:50pm
OPUWO, 15 MAR (NAMPA) – Despite attempts to keep learners in school at Otjomuru in the Kunene Region, a lack of food forces some to go back to their homes in hopes of finding something to eat.
Otjomuru Primary School is situated 27 kilometres east of Okangwati in the Epupa Constituency. Majority learners at the school are from previously marginalised groups such as the Ovatwe and Ovatjimba. Some walk between six and seven kilometres from nearby villages to school every day.
The school’s principal Kongoreree Tjazapi told Nampa on Saturday they started to accommodate learners in classrooms at night to eliminate the need for them to walk such long distances.
“Learners come to school hungry as in most cases there is nothing to eat at home. We decided to rather keep them at school.”
The learners survive on the school-feeding scheme, which only makes provision for one meal a day.
“We as teachers staying with these children are forced to provide two meals a day, which means the maize provided through the scheme is finished long before it should be.”
Tjazapi said learners find it difficult to concentrate if they are hungry and it affects their performance.
“This is something we experience regularly. When they can’t get enough to eat they prefer to go back home and would rather try and collect wild berries to eat.”
She said in addition to teachers spending their own money on food for the learners, they have also tried to address the problem by seeking donations.
Earlier this year, the school’s management approached Otjomuru Fishing Company, named after the settlement, for a donation and received N.dollars 10 000.
The money was used to buy maize and sugar, as well as building material to build temporary structures at the school.
“We wanted to buy a printer but we had to use it for food instead,” a founding member of the fishing company, Kahimbona Musaso, told this agency.
Former Deputy Prime Minister and the first female Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Libertina Amathila has offered to build a hostel for the school. She visited the school recently to identify an area where the hostel can be built.
Tjazapi hopes that once the hostel is built, the number of learners who stay in school will increase, as this is the only school covering the outskirts of Okangwati.
The Otjomuru Primary School was established in 2008 and has 117 learners and seven teachers.