Thousands of orphans supported by trust over past 10 years

26 Oct 2013 11:00am
WINDHOEK, 26 OCT (NAMPA) - The Christina Swart-Opperman Aids Orphan Foundation Trust has utilised approximately N.dollars 6 million over the past 10 years to support more than 10 000 orphans and vulnerable children.
Speaking at the celebration of the trust’s 10th anniversary on Thursday night, its founder Dr Christina Swart-Opperman said there are about 80 000 orphans in Namibia of whom 75 per cent are AIDS orphans.
“Since the Christina Swart-Opperman Aids Orphan Foundation Trust was launched in February 2003, we have assisted approximately 11 200 babies, boys and girls. The vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS have no access to education, guidance and appropriate care. The needs of an AIDS orphan are often as immediate as his or her next meal,” she said.
Currently, the trust supports between 1 000 to 2 000 children per month, depending on the funding, while there are 3 870 children on a waiting list. The trust provides support based on the needs identified by homes or projects which look after the children. These are often basic needs such as food, clothes (civil and school uniforms), shoes, blankets, toys, books, the payment of school fees, toiletries and household cleaning materials. The trust does not give cash to homes.
According to Swart-Opperman, these children were part of projects (continuous or once-off), child care groups, homes and individual families. She said caring for them could only be possible through contributions made by individuals and the business community.
The trust strives to contribute towards social reform in Namibia. It obtains funds through fundraising events, of which 14 were held over the past 10 years, as well as through companies’ corporate social responsibility projects and through concerned individuals.
The trust currently feeds a child for N.dollars 300 to N.dollars 500 per month, which excludes school necessities, clothes and any other additional help.
According to Swart-Opperman, this covers only the absolute bare necessities, and should be increased to provide proper care.
“As a business community we must embrace the challenge of our orphaned and vulnerable children. We must empower them and treat them as proud citizens of Namibia with a future, not just as victims. Let us take care of them so that they can grow up safely, healthily, with an education and with confidence,” she added.
Speaking at the same event, Prime Minister Hage Geingob said he is not worried about the future when the business community plays an active role in the welfare of children.
“I believe that if the private sector adopts this approach towards corporate social responsibility, we will go a long way as a country in accelerating development and economic growth and safeguarding the future of our children,” he added.