The parents of more than 300 learners at Onaisaati Combined School near Eenhana in the Ohangwena region can’t afford to buy school uniforms, and the children are thus forced to wear old clothes.
One of the teachers at Onaisaati, Hilma Sackaria, said in an interview with New Era that right now, many don’t have the clothes or books they need.
It seems unthinkable that a Namibian child could go to school in torn clothes and barefoot.
“Imagine the feeling of not fitting in with the other children and facing the shame of everyone knowing you cannot afford anything other than the tatty clothes on your back,” lamented Sackaria.
“We are appealing for your urgent help to buy more than 300 children a precious school uniform and the stationery they need in time for the start of school next year,” she requested.
Sackaria added that what is more heartbreaking is the fact that many have no money to afford full uniforms.
“This is not only uncomfortable; it also puts them at great risk of serious mental illnesses,” stressed the teacher.
The school requires children to wear a full school uniform in order to attend classes, but many thought of dropping out of school because they are unable to access an education as their families simply do not have the means.
“But that was not the intention. We wanted to encourage the parents to buy them school uniforms, but this simply shows that the parents cannot afford,” she explained.
Sackaria said without these simple things, many will stay stuck in the cycle of poverty, although a single pair of shoes and a school uniform could transform their futures. Even if a child is lucky enough to be gifted with a treasured uniform, it is often the only item of clothing they possess.
“It creates pride and equality among the pupils, rather than separating them by the state of their clothes or financial means,” the educator observed.