Rundu — The unprecedented number of orphans and vulnerable children in the Kavango Region has motivated 26-year-old John Kasoma to establish the Tuhingireni Pre-Primary School for orphans and other vulnerable children around Rundu.
"Last year we started with [only] 60 children due to the lack of teaching materials. We also do not have a proper structure to use as a classroom, therefore I am pleading with the business community to support us in this regard," said Kasoma.
About 30 orphans and vulnerable children between the ages of three and eight are part of the initiative.
Kasoma completed high school in 2006 at Rundu Secondary School, but could not pursue his dream of studying to obtain a teaching qualification even though he passed with the 28 points, which qualifies him for university entry. However, that setback did not keep him from teaching.
Each day the 30 children show up at the pre-primary school for classes that start at 08h00 until 12h00.
"We do not have enough money to buy teaching resources because parents cannot afford the N$25 school fee.
"I do not have a fixed job, but sometimes I go out and do handiwork. The money I earn I use to buy teaching materials," he said. The pre-primary school is on his residential plot, but Kasoma is confident that the initiative will go a long way in improving the lives of the orphans and vulnerable children under his care.
"I decided to start the school because I noticed that most kids in my area do not go to school since their parents cannot afford to pay school fees. By starting this school, I am doing my part to meet government halfway, because we always have to get the help of foreigners to come and do work in our country," he said.
Kasoma is now pleading for assistance in the form of building materials to build a permanent structure in which to teach the children. The pre-primary school currently does not have any water or electricity connection. "I have approached the office of the Governor and the Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare for assistance, but I am still waiting to hear from them," he said.
One of the caregivers at the school Gertrud Kudumo (28) says there is a need for more teaching aids in order to prepare the children for Grade 1.
"We need more teaching materials, because the ones at our disposal are not enough. At the moment I am busy compiling the report cards for the learners that will be promoted to Grade 1 next year so that they can use it to apply to schools," she said.