4 January 2013

Namibia: Rivaldo the Go-Getter Washes Cars for School Fees

An 11-year-old boy from Krönlein Primary School at Keetmanshoop has decided to take his fate into his own hands by washing cars to enable him to pay his school fees.

Grade Four learner Rivaldo Kooper approached Wise Carwash in Keetmanshoop in January 2012 with a proposal that they let him wash cars there after school and on weekends in exchange for money for his school fees and school uniform, as well as a little something to help buy food at home.

His mother, single mom Magdalena Kooper, is a domestic worker, so any extra income for their family of five is welcome.

Agnes Eiseb, office administrator at Otherwise Transport which owns the carwash, told Nampa how little Rivaldo approached them with his request in January.

"We agreed to let him work for us. We do not give him cash for the school fees, we pay it ourselves. We also bought him a full school uniform," Eiseb said.

Nampa spotted the little boy busy at the carwash recently and decided to give him and his family a chance to tell their story.

Speaking to the news agency at the carwash on Friday, Rivaldo said he works so that he can complete his school career. He dreams of becoming a teacher one day.

"I want to be a teacher one day when I grow up," he said.

And nothing will stop the young boy from accomplishing his dream as he has already made the decision to live in a way which will allow him to reach his goals.

"I do not drink alcohol and never smoke," he said.

The Ministry of Education's recent announcement that the payment of school fees for children aged between six and 13 will be abolished as from next year was surely welcome news for the Koopers, and yet Rivaldo will keep working next year as he wants to be assured of his school uniform and some extra money for food.

He has two older siblings, an 18-year-old brother and 15-year-old sister, as well as a younger sister who is seven years old.

His 36-year-old mother said on Saturday she only found out about Rivaldo's 'job' after he had already started working at the carwash, but said after she found out she happily consented to his plan.

Kooper told this reporter how she struggles to make ends meet as she is separated from her children's father - a farm worker at Aroab village some 163 kilometres east of Keetmanshoop.

"Rivaldo is a good boy. He saw how much I struggled to support them and decided to get something for himself. I am very proud of my son, especially as their father does not give them anything at all," she said.

The proud Kooper also said Rivaldo performs well at school and has never failed a grade.

Referring to the 11-year-old as a "go-getter", she said she is also proud and confident that she brought a boy into the world who will put bread on the table one day.

The mother of four is especially in awe of her younger son's behaviour as she says his older brother dropped out of school in Grade Six and makes little effort to support himself and his family.

While Nampa spoke to his mother, Rivaldo arrived at their home with two plastic bags full of empty bottles which he collected so they could sell it and use the money they make to buy bread.

Immediately after handing the bags over to his mother, the soon-to-be Grade Five learner rushed back to the carwash just a block away from their house in the Krönlein residential area.


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