MakeANoise project helps needy kids

By Michael Uugwanga

AS the country continues to buckle under the weight of the recession, some people are hard at work to meet government halfway to fight Covid-19 by various means, such as a setting up community projects to cater for vulnerable and underprivileged children that are severely affected by the pandemic.

One example is the MakeANoise Community Safety project in AgsteLaan in Otjomuise, Windhoek that feeds between 250 to 300 kids. MakeANoise is a community safety and crime prevention initiative with the mission to ensure that all Namibian women, children and the most vulnerable individuals can feel safe in public spaces and have no fear of crime.

MakeANoise makes use of tangible safety tools and preventative methods that create safer communities, fight Gender Based Violence (GBV) as well as crime in general. The feeding project started in March, immediately after the lockdown in late March, when the founder and owner, Emmarencia van Wyk, decided to come up with an initiative to help kids affected by the lockdown.

The kids that come for the feeding program at MakeANoise Community Safety project range between six to 16 years. They receive a meal once a day from Monday to Friday. Van Wyk  started the program with her own resources before her friends and relatives came to her aid, with some good Samaritans chipping in, but it is still barely enough due to the ever increase numbers of hungry kids.

MakeANoise Community Safety is a non-government organisation (NGO), which not only feeds children but teaches them life skills and in particular Covid-19 precautions.

“I started it immediately after the lockdown as we are in our fifth week now… The aim is to give kids a proper diet as many of these kids’ parents are cleaners, housekeepers, gardeners and iron clothes to make ends meet and have not enough income to buy nutritious food for their kids.

“Another aim for this programme is prevent Gender-Based Violence (GBV), community uplifting, empowerment campaigns, educational programmes supplement and to bring people together for a safer and crime-free Namibia.

“We are also keeping these kids busy since schools are closed. We have volunteers that speak different languages, such as Oshiwambo, Herero, Nama-Damara and English in order to communicate with the kids… These kids are very smart, just like those kids who are not vulnerable as they know a lot about Covid-19, such as social distancing, and funny enough some will even tell you that social distancing is one-meter distance. The kids also sanitise before they start with anything and wash their hands before eating.”

Van Wyk, a mother of three, said she is managing to balance the demands on her as a mother and at the same time a caring community activist.

“I am a mother to three kids, my eldest kid is … at university. I’m doing this project to give back to the community. We all know that we are now in winter and these kids need stuff like blankets, jerseys, clothes and other items to keep warm. I’m just calling on anybody out there that is willing to come on board to assist these kids during this hard time to contact me on 0814092607,” said van Wyk.

MakeANoise community safety is run in conjunction with the Namibian Police, Windhoek City Police and the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare.