13 Havana shack dwellers receive homes

Nineteen years after Leena Indongo joined the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia, she finally has a brick house to call home.

25 October 2021 | Local News



“I built this structure myself. My grandchildren helped me. They handed me the bricks and brought them closer,” said Leena Indongo as she showed off her new brick house in Havana last week. Indongo joined the Shack Dwellers’ Federation of Namibia (SDFN) in 2002 and has been saving the little money she makes from selling kapana in the township to one day have a brick house of her own.

She takes care of herself and her two grandchildren aged three and 11, and shared that she is delighted to finally enjoy the comfort of a brick house. Indongo is one of 13 individuals who officially received their new homes at a handover ceremony in Havana last Thursday.

Through her hard work, she was able to purchase bricks and put in the work to construct the house herself. “The federation met me halfway, and I am very blessed to be a beneficiary.”

She hopes to extend her home with an additional bedroom and a big living room. Currently, it is equipped with a bathroom, one bedroom and a kitchen, and the electricity has already been connected.

“You can see the commitment from a person, from a mother at her age. With little you have, try your level best instead of just looking to other people,” urban and rural development minister Erastus Uutoni said. He congratulated all the beneficiaries on their new homes.

Working together

The Shack Dwellers Federation is a network of groups formed by individuals in order to save money.

There are 916 of these groups across the country, with over 28 000 members. The groups have saved about N$33.3 million and have so far constructed over 7 000 houses.

“There are many Namibians living in informal settlements as we face the challenge of massive and rapid migration from rural to urban centres throughout the country. This why we need to accelerate housing delivery through initiatives like what we witness today,” Uutoni said.

40 houses handed over

Meanwhile at Okakarara, the National Housing Enterprise (NHE) handed over a total of 40 dwellings built through a public-private partnership last week.

According to deputy minister of urban and rural development, Natalia /Goagoses, who officiated the event, Namibia has a housing shortage, and accomplishments like these show that both government and the private sector are responding to the need for housing.

“Even though the housing output we wish to see is far from what we are handing over here today, I strongly believe that many more houses were constructed and are being constructed by private sector partners countrywide and may not have been accounted for at platforms similar to this one,” she said.

NHE’s goal is to minimise the housing backlog, which now stands at over 100 000 units, she added, mentioning that the organisation has set a goal of building 47 622 dwellings by 2030.

The enterprise is expected to hand over 72 houses in Karibib this week and 77 in Keetmanshoop next month.

Gerson Aib (34), one of the Okakarara beneficiaries, commended NHE for making his dreams of owning a home a reality.

“It has not been easy. Finally, we are here today to receive our keys. My children can finally come for holidays as I now have a house of my own,” he said.

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