An early child development programme
What has a pre-school education programme got to do with poverty – and with Harambee? How Shell is making a positive difference to disadvantaged children in Namibia.
Poverty eradication is the central and overarching objective of the Namibian government’s development agenda. Quality schooling is one of the basic amenities that can contribute to a prosperous Namibia as articulated in the President’s Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP).
“Harambee” is a Kiswahili word meaning “Pull together in the same direction”, and was deliberately selected to call for unity and encourage Namibians to work towards a common purpose in eradicating poverty.
Shell takes its social investment responsibilities seriously, and actively seeks ways in which it can make a positive difference in Namibia. One such way is its investment in an early learning centre for marginalised children.
“We have been impressed with the value of the work of the Child Development Foundation at the Otjomuise Centre, and how they prepare disadvantaged children for a successful school career” said Dennis Zekveld, Namibia Country Chair, adding that Shell is proud to support youth education in Namibia.
At the Centre, the likelihood of success at school and thereby better employment prospects are considerably enhanced for the children who attend.
The programme has been running for nine years and places a lot of emphasis on the teaching of English. 40 children participate in the Centre’s programme daily. These are orphans and vulnerable children from extremely impoverished communities who attend for two years prior to entering the mainstream school system.
As well as the language and educational programme, the children are given breakfast and lunch on school days. Vegetables are grown at the school and form part of its nutrition programme.
Once the pre-schoolers have completed the two-year programme, they are monitored and supported long-term. Their progress is reviewed and they attend an afternoon homework club at the Centre on school days.
Dennis Zekveld with attendees of the child development centre
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