Surviving On N$200 a Month

Klaudia Hamunyela (45) is the mother of four children and volunteers at a local children’s shelter in Windhoek. Her monthly salary is only N$200. Martha Joseph (41) also volunteers at the same shelter and cares for six children.

Their employer also gives them food packages to complement their meagre income.

“Yesterday, I came home late from work and I found the children crying of hunger. I had to prepare them food and this morning I cooked macaroni for them, which they ate and I also left some for them to eat during the day,” says Hamunyela.

Joseph lives in Hakahana location in the Moses Garoumleb constituency.

New Era visited the two women last week in the One Nation settlement, another informal settlement in the Tobias Hainyeko constituency. Hamunyela arrived in Windhoek six years ago from the north in the hopes of finding a job.

“I do not have a place of my own. This shack in which my children and I live belongs to a person who hails from the same village as mine and he is just helping me out of his good heart, because he knows that I do not have a place of my own,” Hamunyela says, while making us feel welcome in the box-sized shack.

The shack is partitioned into three separate rooms and we sit in the sitting room where there are three couches and a tiny table.

“My children and I sleep here in this sitting room,” she says.

With winter looming Hamunyela says: “We only have bed sheets that we will use to cover ourselves for now. I don’t know how we will survive through the winter. My children and I survive through my struggling.

“I used to make fat cakes and sold them and we would survive on that money.”

Hamunyela did not complete primary school.

The father of her children died in 2004 in Angola she says. He was an Angolan national.

“That’s why I am unable to get them the grants for orphans,” she says, adding that her seven children share one father who died, while the last born has a different father.

“But he is unemployed, how will he support the child?” she asks. For now, though, Hamunyela’s dream is to have a place of her own. She says the N$200 she earns does not take her through the end of the month and that she struggles to make ends meet.

“I really want to have a shack of my own. I have been moving from shack to shack being accommodated by good Samaritans until the owner of this shack came to my rescue, but our stay here is only temporary.

“I would appreciate it if people out there can assist me with iron sheets so that I can build my own shack,” she pleads, adding that she attended a cooking course in Ombili location, but could not complete it, because she was unable to pay.

“If there are people who would like to assist me by paying for my cooking classes, I would also appreciate that since it would enable me to start my own business preparing food that I can sell,” she says.

Source : New Era