Okahandja Youths’ Glimmer of Hope

LITTLE optimism can be seen in the eyes of about 30 youths gathered at the Okahandja community training centre.

The centre offers courses for domestic workers, catering, care-giving, nail decoration, literacy and motivational classes for a minimum fee. It also serves as a venue for anyone who wants to host community or private meetings.

The Okahandja community centre, in the Okahandja Industrial Park – a stone’s throw from the only shopping mall at the town – has been in operation for several years.

According to the centre’s principal, only a few make use of their services.

The centre is funded by the Forum for the Future, a non-governmental organisation whose mission is to empower civil societies.

It offers training to both youth and adults alike, especially women.

Dr Uirab offers a first-aid course and 33-year-old Yvonne Mbaha-Alweendo and 23-years-old Collin Seibeb are taking the course.

Mbaha-Alweendo says the course comes in handy. She is hopeful that one day she might get herself a job as she is an unemployed housewife.

She says once she completes her three-week training, she will volunteer at the local hospital to gain practical experience.

“I learnt a lot at this centre. Before I started, I did not even know what to do when my child got burnt. I did not know how to handle a person who is bleeding and what the best ways to treat the elderly were,” she says, adding that the training has assisted her to desist from practising the traditional way of treating burn wounds by using urine.

“The doctor taught us that by doing that, we might just as well be putting germs on the wound something that I did not know,” she says. “After I get my certificate I will not stop here. I will go to the hospital and volunteer to gain experience. I will be able to help someone in need and also looks for a job because right know I am jobless.”

For Seibeb, the training might help him assist someone close. He too is unemployed.

“You never know when the situation will arise, so I urge the youth in Okahandja to come and attend training such as this one to empower themselves so that they can help the community. They should not just be drinking in shebeens,” he says.

Both Mbaha-Alweendo and Seibeb agree that government needs to open a youth centre at the town just like in other towns.

The centre aiser, Wilfred Goaseb, says the place has been helpful to those who make use of their services.

But he says that there are people who want to tarnish the name of the centre by dismissing it as a political project. “This centre is apolitical. Everyone from different political parties is welcome,” he says.

Goaseb says recently the centre helped a San student get funding from the Office of the Prime Minister to continue his studies in an electrical programme at Triumphant College in Windhoek.

“The people approached us so that we can write a motivational letter for the boy and were very happy to hear that he got funding from the Office of the Prime Minister to further his studies,” he says.

He urged residents of Okahandja, especially the youth, to make use of the centre and expressed the wish that the newly-created Ministry of Poverty Alleviation and Social Welfare would also assist them to fight poverty in Okahandja.

Paulus Ashipala is a freelance journalist

Source : The Namibian