There have always been orphans and vulnerable children in Namibia, but after Independence in 1990, they became more visible. During that era, urbanisation led to the rise of informal settlements, contributing to the neglect of children.
Since 1999, we have been working to turn this around by finding ways to bring out the best in children and caring adults – whether parents, grandparents, older siblings, people from the local community, or even further afield. In 1998, Phillip, Gerhard and Kutenda, migrant workers from the faraway Kavango Region, committed their lives to Jesus, realized the needs of children in their own midst, and in the fast growing squatter settlement around them - a place of poverty, violence, substance abuse and neglect.
In contrast to the dark circumstances, they called their initiative “Light for the Children” – summarising their vision, mission and aims. Other individuals and groups also impacted the community in similar ways:
• Deeply touched by children’s rummaging through dustbins, Isabella Matroos pitched a tent, and started caring for them, calling her work ‘Shalom Kindergarten.
• De Waal and Louise Louw of Goba Lodge, enabled Pelina Eiases to look after a group of children.
• A Swiss mission teacher at the ‘On the Way’ Centre, trained young San ladies to do pre-school teaching, resulted in the founding of Epako San Pre-School.
• Reverend Henk Olwage, being busy with less structured forms of child care since the 1980’s, used these opportunities to work in a more sustained and unified way. So it happened that, in the course of time, all these efforts – and some more – joined to form Light for the Children Foundation, registered with the Ministry of Health and Social Services as Welfare Organization 427.