WorldTeach alumna Kristin continues to support learners in Namibia long after her return home to the United States.
Walalapo, friends! Remember that time that I lived in Namibia for a year? Well, I may not be in the village anymore (though my table manners would make you think otherwise), but I still have some news from Omege for you!
Way back when in October 2013, I started a fundraiser to provide school uniform shoes to all of the learners at my school that could not afford them. I was overwhelmed by the generosity of friends, family, and acquaintances, as I received more than enough funds to cover the 60+ pairs of shoes that were purchased and distributed. After all of the kiddos were shoe-d up, I talked with my principal and we decided that the best and most sustainable way to use the surplus funds would be to establish an ongoing scholarship fund at Ondjora Combined School.
During my last few months in Omege, I worked with the school to set up a scholarship committee that would help with the coordination of the scholarship and allocation of funds once I was gone. Each year, two of Ondjora Combined School’s highest-preforming yet disadvantaged female learners would receive a $500 scholarship that would cover all costs for Senior Secondary School (Grades 11 and 12)- this includes tuition, housing, books, uniforms, and supplies. I’ve mentioned this in previous blogs, but in case you forgot… Having a Grade 12 certificate in northern Namibia can get you very, very far. But many learners in rural areas, especially females, drop out of school far before that to take care of their families or work in the field. This scholarship is meant to encourage learners to not let the cost of Senior Secondary School become a barrier to a brighter future.
Some of you may remember the 2014 scholarship winners- Natalia and Lydia (pictured with their scholarship certificates and yours truly!)- I’m happy to report back that they both are passing Grade 11 at their respective schools, and Lydia’s in the top 10% of her class!
Once I returned to the party in the USA, I gave some speeches and raised, with thanks in particular to the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary, more than enough money for the 2015 scholarship. Throughout this year, I’ve worked with the scholarship committee to select two incredible girls for the scholarship — Laimi and Laina.
When I was teaching at Ondjora, Laimi was literally first in every class and she won every academic award during the term. She works hard and has the confidence to make it. I remember thinking often, “This chick’s going places.” Laina was one of the learners that I felt closest with during my time in Namibia. She was my neighbor, and she and her precious 4 and 6 year old siblings joined me almost every day for a run. Laina was also in the small group of learners that I took to Windhoek for the 5k in July 2013. Laina’s father died just before I arrived in Namibia and her mother is sick and unemployed, so she and her aunt take care of her little brother and sister. She is one of the strongest and most determined learners, and I know that this scholarship money will be a huge help to her family. Below are Laimi and Laina’s thank-you letters (and remember, English is their second or third language!). So to all who contributed in any way, THANK YOU!
The time difference and the never-reliable Namibian internet made this second round of scholarships much more difficult to coordinate, but we did it! Thanks especially to Mr. Mwiikeni, Mr. Hango, and Loide, all of whom were integral to coordinating this process.
If you are interested in contributing to the next round of scholarships, you can either let me know directly or look out for my next round of fundraising, which I will probably start this summer.
Oshili nawa, ya’ll.
-Kristin Sadler, WorldTeach Namibia Alumna
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