By: Selma Taapopi
Our inspirational story for the month is about a 25-year-old student changing lives in Havana informal settlement by feeding close to 100 children using her own funds. The student who runs the soup kitchen spends her own money from her tuckshop and sells second-hand clothes. Penomwene Nekwaya, a resident of a new section at the periphery of Havana informal settlement, expanded to a kindergarten to cater for young children who are not attending school in the area. Nekwaya started her initiative last year after taking in a pregnant woman and her children who did not have a place to stay. Nekwaya, who is a Health Communication student at Tulipohamba Training and Assessment Institute, offers educational programmes that prevent children from engaging in illegal activities such as drug and alcohol abuse and theft. "I think I'm that person that likes giving. I like giving so much. It started when I had a girl who was pregnant and had two toddlers aged two and four years. She did not have a place to stay and her parents did not want her. I spoke to my mom and we accommodated her for three months and when she went into labour we took her to the hospital. I continued staying with the woman's three-year-old child for six months because she (the mother) was also not fine, her unborn baby had complications," said Nekwaya. Nekwaya told TodayonOne that she feeds a total of 100 children every Saturday, but the number of children keeps increasing.
According to Nekwaya, the only challenge is that the food is never enough. "I am also a businesswoman so I make sure I have N$500 to buy the combo that will accomodate everyone. There was a time we did not have food at all but kids are kids and they always come so I had to buy bread and make a quick soup". This past weekend the Eengoshi bikers club visited the EPA soup kitchen and donated food and toiletries in commemoration of the humanitarian day under the theme it takes a village. President of the Eenghoshi bikers club Tuhafeni Jekonia noted the donation comes four years after their outreach programme started. In addition, Jekonia said their act will not only assist the club to spread the message of solidarity, but also give hope to the children who only get one meal a day. "We thought, why not go where people cannot reach, so these are the unheard voices. We actually asked what they needed because we would not wanna buy something and they already have it so they gave us a list and we asked for the donations from the members of the club,' stated Jekonia. According to the Eengoshi bikers, the humanitarian day is commemorated annually on the 19th of August and honours the heroic people who have died for the humanitarian cause. The day also recognises those who continue to devote their lives to helping the world’s most vulnerable people.