14 Jun ‘Ithemba’ – the provider of hope … Rundu students drive c…
THE sight of a young boy with barely anything on in the cold streets of Rundu spurred 20-year-old Daniel Kameya into action.
Kameya said he noticed that the boy, who was not older than six years, was shivering from the cold. Instinctively, he approached the boy and offered him his beanie (knitted cap).
But despite his generous effort, he said he was not satisfied.
Kameya said he felt there were more children in a similar situation, and helping one could merely be akin to scratching the surface.
“If I can go to school feeling warm, with socks, shoes and everything I need, why is it that a small boy doesn’t have what I have?”, he asked himself.
The sight of the shivering boy prompted him into action, and a few weeks later gave birth to the Ithemba Charity Group. Kameya says Ithemba means ‘Hope’ in isiZulu, a language mainly spoken in South Africa.
Joined by nine other members, Kameya was committed to addressing the plight of the less fortunate.
The other members of the project are Karen Amutenya, Jonathan Shimbala, Michael Kapunda, Almah Kandali, Sevelina Angula, Leonard Ntinda, Alexander Alexandrina, Frans Nando and Vikondononee Uanivi.
They are all students at different tertiary institutions at Rundu.
Raising funds was a challenge for the group. They often went on campus with donation forms to solicit funds, but would at times get as little as N$2 for their day’s work. The group, however, did not give up.
They set themselves a target to collect N$500 by the end of March, and drew up a plan to collect as many donations as they could. Kameya contributed N$100 to kickstart the fundraising campaign.
The money was to buy clothes, food and toiletries for children at an orphanage they were still to identify.
“I told myself, ‘let money not be an obstacle for what I want to start’,” the determined student recalled.
As collections came in, they started scouting for the suitable beneficiary to help.
LENDING A HELPING HAND
The group decided that their first donation of clothes would go to a community-based organisation, the Kavango Orphanage Home at Rundu.
The home was opened in 2013 by local resident Monika Alfred to feed and educate less fortunate children in the area, and to provide daycare for them. Alfred plans having the children to stay there in future.
Kameya found the orphanage through Facebook.
In March, he approached the orphanage with his proposal to donate shoes, clothes, toiletries and food parcels to the children.
“I found their number on Facebook. When I called and spoke to Monika, she was happy that we wanted to help, and asked for an email explaining who we are, and what we want to do for the children,” he explained.
Kameya and group members Alexander, Frans, Jonathan, Leonard, Sevelina and Michael visited the orphanage for the first time in April.
A FIRST DAY WELL-SPENT
It is the only orphanage in the Sun City informal settlement of Rundu, and it is surrounded by shacks and other structures.
The children’s faces lit up with curiosity when the group paid them a visit.
“We had to be friendly. Every group member had to take four children, and make them feel comfortable,” Kameya related about their visit.
Although there was a language barrier because the children spoke RuKwangali, a combination of gestures and games was their way of communicating.
On 1 June, the Ithemba Charity Group visited the home again. This time, they cooked for the 67 children, and spent the day with them at the home.
During this second visit, Kameya was accompanied by Karen, Nando, Leonard and Jonathan.
The group also made sandwiches for breakfast and lunch. They watched a movie with the children, and participated in outdoor activities.
The home’s founder, Alfred, said the children are dropped off and picked up by their guardians every day.
She said some of the children were left by young mothers in the care of their grandparents.
The home offers the children breakfast and lunch from Monday to Friday for free.
For a little over six years, Alfred has been taking in children. Although she does not have a teaching qualification, she has taken it upon herself to prepare children from the ages of four to six for Grade 1.
“I feel I don’t need to have a qualification because this is what my heart led me to do. I want them [children] to be familiar with basic education before Grade 1,” she continued.
Alfred successfully runs the home with two qualified teachers, one administrative officer, and two other people who work in the kitchen.
Kameya said the group will pay more visits to the centre in future.