Namibia: UNICEF, Turkish Agency to Help Children At Osire

The United Nations Children's Fund and the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (Tika) visited the Osire Refugee Camp in the Otjozondjupa region last week to find out how they can support children living with disabilities.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was also part of the delegation.

United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) country representative Rachael Odede told The Namibian during the visit that they are looking at how they can strengthen their relationship with the Namibian government.

She said they were specifically looking at how they can help children on the move. "That [children on the move] is how we call them, and not refugee children. We are looking at partnering with the government, and seeing how we can help the children, especially those living with disabilities. This is my first time coming to Osire, and I must say I am very impressed with the job the Namibian government has already done for the refugees here at Osire," said Odede.

She added that the children have access to good schools, and it was overwhelming to see these children getting a second chance in life, and having the opportunity to be children. Home affairs commissioner for refugees Likius Valombola, who met with the team, said assistance is welcome as the number of refugees was increasing.

"We will appreciate support from organisations like Unicef and Tika because the number of refugees is increasing, and the number of children is also going up. This means there is a need for more classrooms, housing and health supplies. We are indeed looking forward to working with you, and we are encouraging other stakeholders to follow suit," he stated.

Valombola added that the Namibian government continues to provide Osire with the most-needed essential services, such as pre-primary and senior secondary schools, a police station, clinic, postal services and offices for the ministries of agriculture, and home affairs and immigration, respectively.

Meanwhile, Tika programme coordinator Ozlem Guvenc said her agency has a lot of experience, especially when it comes to refugees.

To date, they have worked on 72 projects in Namibia. "We came in the country in 2015, and since then, we have worked on projects where we renovated schools, trained trainers, built gardens for groups, and helped children living with disabilities, among other things. As some might know, Turkey has a lot of experience when it comes to refugees, hence, we are hoping to help where we can, especially [with] healthcare for children," Guvenc noted.

During the visit, the UNHCR head of mission Igor Ciobanu explained to the delegation the various projects the refugees are involved in.

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