For the past two months we have also been working with a Namibian NGO that supports people with disabilities. This organisation commenced in 2001 & has the following aims:
# To provide an holistic service including residential, day & community based rehabilitation programs for people with a range of disabilities.
# To give people with disabilities the skills to live as independently as possible within their own communities.
# To provide training to families, carers, community members & volunteers on providing care & stimulation for people with disabilities.
# To increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Our commitment to this organisation has been one morning per week & the task set before us was to update their Policy & Procedures Manual, which had not been updated for a decade!
Pictures of the Centre where students come for their daily activities
The Centre has a Day Care Program where some 45 clients (disabled people) come each day to learn & interact with each other. The clients are also fed breakfast & lunch each day & attend classes held in various topics. The day commences with a Bible Study devotion & singing.
Breakfast time. Always a good start to the day!
The Day Care Program also includes education on daily living skills, literacy & numeracy skills, health education (including HIV & AIDS), cleaning & basic kitchen skills, horticultural skills & physical fitness co-ordination.
Some of the clients (students) awaiting the start of classes
Many disabled people in Africa are forgotten people. Disability is considered a shameful thing & many disabled people are kept locked away in homes not to be seen by others. With the help of this NGO, children and young adults with disabilities are integrated into normal life & taught important life skills. They are respected for who they are & encouraged in their daily activities.
Group shot. Like any kids they are always keen to have their photo taken.
This organisation receives very limited government funding & receives most of its income from personal & corporate donations. Money is very tight & the ongoing viability of the organisation depends on the level of month to month receipts. Monthly fees are applicable for the clients who attend, however the vast majority of fees are not paid as few can afford them. This is a Christian based ministry where services are provided free of charge in need & without question as to someone’s background or religious beliefs.
Some of the students chilling out prior to breakfast
Working in an environment with disabled people is not something we’ve done in the past so it has also been a learning experience for us. Some of the clients have been inquisitive of the strange white people working in one of the offices & have popped in to say hello. Sometimes they give us a little cuddle by way of introduction.
We are now nearing completion of this assignment with the Policy & Procedures document updated. This might sound a pretty mundane task however the Manager (Director) of the Centre has been delighted (perhaps even overjoyed) that after a decade they now have a working document again! Policy & Procedures might be boring, but without an effective reference source any organisation can quickly grind to a halt.
Mural in the dining hall
We have enjoyed our time at the Centre& the people we have met. As with the other organisations we have spent time with, the staff are very appreciative to have employment however wages are very poor & making ends meet is difficult. Volunteers are a great way for the organisation to move forward under the grace of God.
One of our friends who popped in to say hello
“There is no future in the past. My past is my history. My future is my destiny”.(Taken from a poster on the wall at the Centre – based on Isaiah 43:18 & Philippians 3:13).