Standard Bank in partnership with the National Housing Enterprise (NHE), this week held a ground-breaking ceremony to begin construction of Gold Paralympian, Ananias Shikongo's house.
Upon winning three medals in the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro to become the third Namibian to do so, Standard Bank decided to reward Shikongo for his excellent work by donating a house worth N$500,000 to him. To that end the Bank partnered with NHE to secure a plot and construct the home for the athlete.
The construction of the two-bedroom house is to start in the next three weeks and will be done by a local contractor. The ERF is located in Pricilla Street, Greenwell, Katutura and will cater to Shikongo's disability will be built in the budding suburb of. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of this year.
"Although we have many national priorities, amidst this there is still a recognition of sports as an enabling contributor that fosters unity, national reconstruction and regional and international cooperation which is necessary to lay a proper foundation for peace and transformation that will eventually form the basis for the realisation of the dream of prosperity for all that we as a nation set for ourselves," Standard Bank Acting Head of Marketing, Sigrid Tjijorokisa said during the ground-breaking ceremony.
The groundbreaking ceremony was also attended by the Deputy Minister of Youth, Sport and National Service, Agnes Tjongarero and the Chief Executive Officer of the NHE, Gisbertus Mukulu.
Commending Shikongo for his hard work, Tjijorokisa said that the Paralympian's story is demonstrative of the significant importance of choice and the unlimited opportunities it opens up for people when they just stop focusing on the insurmountable obstacles they face.
"He (Shikongo) has illustrated to the world that disability does not mean inability. It is this kind of courage and determination that we as Standard Bank wanted to recognise and led to our decision to build a decent place he can call home through the Standard Bank Buy-a-Brick initiative." she reiterated.
Through its Buy-a-Brick initiative, the Bank hopes that Namibia will come together and aid in the elimination of all shacks in the country and that all Namibians will have a decent place they can call home.
"This is a legacy that we as Standard Bank want to leave for the next generation. We believe that this initiative will not only address the housing need amongst this income group, but should further address socio-economic phenomena that are associated with it. We want to encourage all Namibians to partner with us as we move forward in joint collaboration to achieve this vision," she stressed.
Mukulu commended the Bank on being a socially responsible institute that has remained true to its on word and rewarded Shikongo for his hard work. Additionally, he said that NHE was proud to be part of the project, going on to avail land for the house and contracting local developers to build the house.
He also assured Shikongo that the construction of his home would be concluded in a reasonable time frame.
Deputy Minister Tjongarero expressed her appreciation towards the Bank and NHE, stating that it was a shining example of empowering and recognising Namibian athletes living with disabilities.
"It is worth mentioning that it is still not easy to live with a disability in our country. Namibians with disabilities are more likely to live in poverty compared to people without disabilities and therefore more needs to be done to support them to live independent and full lives. Today's ground-breaking of Ananias Shikongo's house is therefore very commendable and a noble gesture from Standard Bank and NHE. I therefore urge other corporates and companies in the public and private sector to follow this sterling example by supporting our Paralympian athletes,' she explained.