‘We want to become pilots, doctors’

Children from informal settlements have resorted to begging at city malls to collect money for school necessities as the academic year gets under way.

10 January 2022 | Education

JEMIMA BEUKES

WINDHOEK

While the government thunders a ‘free education’ mantra, many poor children are thronging the highways and shopping mall parking lots to beg for money for school stationery, uniforms and food.

The education ministry announced last week that it had budgeted N$51 million for education, but many poor learners still face harassment from schools and risk being denied education because they cannot buy uniforms and stationery.

Government’s stance that children may not be denied education under such circumstances sometimes falls on deaf ears.

This has pushed children aged between five and 14 to hitchhike, often walking for kilometres, from Okahandja Park informal settlement to beg for alms at traffic lights near Grove Mall in Kleine Kuppe or the Maerua Mall in Olympia.

Namibian Sun caught up with 28-year-old Dankies Urikhos who came to ‘zula’ to buy a school uniform, tights, underclothes and stationery for her daughter, who is starting school today.

“We get here with the N$10 bus, money which we zula [hustle] there in the location. My child doesn’t come here every day when the school starts, I just brought her today because I came to zula. I zula because I cannot find a job and people don’t treat you well if you work for them. We make at least N$50 or N$20 and we use that money also to take the bus back home,” she said.

Out and about

Alongside her was a group of unsupervised children, three groups of siblings and two orphans who came to beg money for food and stationery.

Some of these learners say they needed food for their houses since their parents do not work.

Others were on the streets begging for food, stationery and the prescribed school uniforms that are demanded by some schools without any negotiations, regardless of your financial background.

One of the children, a 14-year-old boy, told Namibian Sun that they stand in the street begging around the clock in order to buy ‘combos’ that can last the family a week while they are in school.

“When we manage to buy these combos then we don’t have to come during the week when the school is on, but sometimes we have no choice and even have to bunk school,” he said.

Almost in one voice, the children said when they grow up, they want to drive their own cars.

An eleven-year-old boy said he wanted to become a doctor because most of his family members are ill or in hospital.

Another one wants to become a police officer to keep his family safe.

A timid 10-year-old girl, looking rather like a five-year-old, said she wants to become a pilot so that she can “fly away, far from here.”

The leader of the group, a 14-year-old, explains that when they have not made enough money to all take a taxi back home, they try to zula for the little ones.

“Sometimes, some of the taxi drivers are very kind and offer to take the small ones back home. On one day we can make around N$20 or N$50. The smaller ones are usually the ones who get the most, because people feel sorry for them.”

However, some drivers are rude and reckless and show no compassion or patience with begging children and often push them out of the way with their vehicles.

“Last week one of the girls, she did not come today, was hit by a car on the leg and she fell and was dragged on the road. She is now at home until she is better. The driver just drove off without saying anything,” he said.

[email protected]

Similar News

 

Hardap education director fired amid tribalism claims

16 hours ago | Education

JEMIMA BEUKESThe Hardap Regional Council chaired by Gerson Dausab, who reportedly closed the Rehoboth Teacher Resource Centre (TCR) in November 2021, has fired regional education...

Line drawn between initiation and orientation at Swakop school

4 days ago - 20 January 2022 | Education

ADAM HARTMAN SWAKOPMUNDCharacter building, discipline and academic performance are considered respectable outcomes of orientation for new school learners, while practices that could...

Recovering education

6 days ago - 18 January 2022 | Education

Enzo Amuele Otjiwarongo The education ministry has promised to make efforts to recover and reimagine education in Namibia. According to the ministry's executive director, Sanet...

Three decades of dedication

6 days ago - 18 January 2022 | Education

Jeanette Diergaardt A lifetime education and rugby The year 1988 marked the start of a memorable journey for Herman Rust, the newly retired principal...

A number of schools in Windhoek are seeing classrooms...

6 days ago - 18 January 2022 | Education

Rivaldo Kavanga The education ministry had in the beginning of the academic year issued a circular to schools directing them to ensure that...

Namibian universities and tertiary institutions are making provision for...

6 days ago - 18 January 2022 | Education

Desiree Gases The ministry of education officially informed learners, parents and the public on 13 January that the full-time National Senior Secondary Certificate Ordinary Level...

Education for the rich

1 week ago - 17 January 2022 | Education

MATHIAS HAUFIKU WINDHOEKNamibia’s private schools are to a large extent self-governing on how to...

High school initiation turns ugly

1 week ago - 14 January 2022 | Education

ADAM HARTMAN SWAKOPMUND Parents of grade eight learners at Namib High School in Swakopmund...

Grade 1s all placed in Oshana

1 week ago - 13 January 2022 | Education

STAFF REPORTER OSHAKATI About 300 grade one learners who had not found space by...

More primary schools needed for Otjomuise

1 week ago - 12 January 2022 | Education

NAMPAWINDHOEKOver 50 grade zero and grade one learners have been left stranded in the Otjomuise residential area of Windhoek as the two only primary schools...

Latest News

U/20 trials an important starting...

16 hours ago | Sports

ANDREW POOLMANNewly appointed head coach Chrysander Botha accepted the challenge of putting together the strongest possible Namibian under-20 rugby team after the trials held in...

Desert Storm, Tugstsogt settle for...

16 hours ago | Sports

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Sakaria (Desert Storm) Lukas stepped in to the opening bout of a Showtime Championship Boxing card, replacing the COVID-compromised Vic Pasillas in a...

Low volumes of cargo during...

16 hours ago | Economics

PHILLEPUS UUSIKUDuring the month of November 2021, exports amounting to N$5 billion, representing 56.6% of total exports left the country by sea, according to the...

NSFAF sticks to guns on...

16 hours ago | Justice

JEMIMA BEUKESThe Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) says the trust relationship between itself and its chief executive officer (CEO) Hilya Nghiwete has irretrievably broken...

Not our tradition – Onesi...

16 hours ago | Cultural

TUYEIMO HAIDULAONESIThe community of Onesi in the Omusati region is not in favour of legalising abortion because their tradition does not allow it.Speaking at the...

Churches condemn mandatory vaccination

16 hours ago | Health

ESTER KAMATIWINDHOEKThe Association of Christian Churches in Namibia (ACCN) has condemned the mandatory vaccination after some companies publicly implied that unvaccinated employees could lose their...

Corporates, don’t give up on...

16 hours ago | Sports

JESSE JACKSON KAURAISAWhen a child is misbehaving at home, as parents, our role is not to chase them away but to mentor them into becoming...

Five spots available for cyclists...

16 hours ago | Sports

NAMPA – The national coach at the cycling federation, Hans du Toit, says the Namibia Cycling Federation (NCF) will use upcoming races to select riders...

Poor nations to receive Merck...

16 hours ago | Economics

FRANCESCO GUARASCIONearly 30 generic drugmakers in Asia, Africa and the Middle East will make cheap versions of Merck & Co's Covid-19 pill, under a landmark...

Load More