Orphanage in dire financial situation
By Rosalia David
ORIA Grace Orphanage situated in Katutura’s Dolam location is struggling to keep its head above water tussling to supply 124 orphans at the shelter with necessities such as daily meals and sanitary pads.
With the current pandemic obliging people to stay home to avoid face-to-face interactions, the orphanage is left with nothing but faith and hope for survival. The situation is desperate to the point that sometimes the older children have to sacrifice eating so the younger ones can be fed.
After the Ministry of Education stopped funding the orphanage in 2017, Moria Grace is now facing the grim reality of having to survive on handouts from the community.
On a cold Wednesday morning Confidente visited the orphanage and sat with the founder Wilhelmina Afrikaner, who shared the sad story of their everyday struggles.
“We are struggling to buy gas for our stove, we have to burn old shoes to make fire outside. Our girls have now started to use vests as pads and other clothing just to complete their menstrual cycles and they hate it, but what do we do, there are no sanitary pads on a monthly basis,” she said.
With despondency written all over her face, Afrikaner said she does not believe in complaining but will rather continue to have faith in God as she is genuinely busy fulfilling her calling and a promise that she made when she was still young.
“My upbringing was not easy. There are times I lived off rubbish bins and one day, I promised that I would take care of lost children that do not have something called home, and that is exactly what I will continue to do even without money.”
She further mentioned that, sometimes, when there is no food to eat she sees the depression in her children’s eyes but tries her utmost best to make light of the situation. “Looking like that won’t help, Jesus won’t come forth if you look like that, because I believe, you cannot raise a broken child without teaching them the Bible and accepting what they have.”
In the same breath, she revealed that the orphanage is relieved that the misfortune of Covid-19 changed their water situation, as supply to the home was disconnected by the Windhoek Municipality towards the end of last year but was however reconnected again in light of the pandemic.
The water supply was disconnected over a debt of more than N$40 000 which still remains unpaid.
“I don’t know what is going to happen if they disconnect our water supply again after ‘free water’ is over … last time we were bailed out by former Poverty Eradication Minister Bishop Kameeta who paid our water bill in 2018.
“We are very much grateful to each and everyone who gave a helping hand during our times of need.” she added.
Last September, it was reported that the shelter had been without water for a month and had to adopt to the new lifestyle of staff going to fetch water elsewhere; while Afrikaner would travel to a farm outside Windhoek to do the laundry.
She said, “The Municipality this year threatened to take us to the lawyers if we don’t pay the outstanding amount but we honestly are unable to. If we had the money, we would have paid. We had to re-use water to minimise our water needs.”
Now that some children’s classes have resumed, Afrikaner wakes up every day at 4h00 to make fire to heat up water for them to take a bath to go to school.
“We are not asking for much. If someone out there can buy gas for our stove it will be of so much help because it’s really cold, and there is no way I can allow them to bath in cold water,” she added.
Afrikaner says none of the children receive the funding that orphans and vulnerable children normally get from government and attempts to get funding remain unanswered.
“We have attempted several times to help the children to get grants that the government gives to the orphans but we were never helped. I don’t know why,” she stressed.