28 February 2013

Namibia: Struggling Mother of Triplets Receives Help

The idiomatic expression 'every cloud has a silver lining' has rung very true for a struggling mother of Grysblok, Katutura who gave birth to triplets on January 31, 2013.

Three weeks ago, New Era broke the news about Leonie Kamaundju, a clerk in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, who gave birth to triplets, a boy and two girls early in the year and who was finding it difficult to make ends meet on her meager income. Yesterday, the Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Rosalia Nghidinwa, responded to her appeal for help when she paid a personal visit to Kamaundju, the 30-year-old mother of four at home in Grysblok. She took with her various items donated by the ministry, such as tins of formula milk, jungle oats, clothes for the babies, milk, maize, nappies, sugar and other miscellaneous items that will tide over the family during the next six months or more.

"I am here on behalf of the government of Namibia. It is an honour when women bring children into the world to make sure our population grows," said the minister as she took two of the infants in her arms.

Nghidinwa said she was proud of Kamaundju as a mother and added that if she ever needed help, she should not hesitate to call on the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare whose mandate it is to assist needy women and children.

"It is a blessing," said Nghidinwa. A visibly shaken Kamaundju expressed appreciation and thanked the government for the much needed and unexpected support. "God doesn't give you problems you can't handle," she said.

Margaret Mensah-Williams, the Regional Councillor for Khomasdal North Constituency and the Vice-Chairperson of the National Council, who accompanied Nghidinwa, said giving birth to three children at once should not be viewed as a problem. "God has blessed you. Women pray for children everyday, but God has given you three," she said, adding that one day when the kids are grown they could become important people in her life and in the lives of others.

Kamaundju reiterated her appeal for accommodation, saying she is still living in her mother's house in a tiny room and it would be extremely difficult to raise the children in such circumstances.

Nghidinwa said that she could not promise anything as it was not in her power, but said she would share the information with those responsible for housing. Kamaundju also has a nine-year old son. She would have been blessed with quadruplets had one embryo not died, while in the womb. Mbitjitandjambi (the boy), Ndjerera and Ngutjiua (the girls) were born seven months prematurely, but turn exactly one month old today. The triplets, although weighing a little over 2kg are in good health and growing fast.

Kamaundju says when she approached the National Housing Enterprise (NHE) offices in Katutura about her plight they were not interested and apparently told her that everyone else also has their problems. She also revealed that she applied for a house through NHE in 2009 and is still waiting.

Apart from her despair, she says that the birth of the triplets has affected her budget drastically in that she has to spend a lot on baby formula, nappies and other essentials. "It has been stressful, but I have accepted my situation," she said, adding that she is still in shock and pleasantly surprised that the minister visited her home and brought her much-needed items. Anyone who would like to make a contribution can reach Kamaundju on her mobile number: 0812208689.

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