Bringing Hope to a Remote Shantytown

Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Mother and children part of the Family Strengthening Program in Ondangwa, Namibia

The shantytown of Uupopo in Namibia is an accumulation of corrugated metal homes, make-shift bars and burnt out cars. This community is home for Anna and her four young children.

Early each morning Anna criss-crosses her neighbourhood, braving the early morning heat, in order to sell bread. The only bakers in Uupopo, Anna and her partner make brown and white loafs and sell them to their neighbours. The residents of Uupopo otherwise rely entirely on supermarkets a fair distance away.

Mother selling bread as part of the Ondangwa Family Strengthening Program in Namibia

“I am a business woman,” Anna says proudly, with a shy smile that can within seconds turn into illuminating laughter. For Anna, being independent is the embodiment of success.

It has always been her dream to be independent. This dream started to become a reality a few years ago when the Family Strengthening Program (FSP) in Ondangwa, Namibia, asked members of the surrounding communities about their needs. In response, Anna came up with the idea of a bakery. SOS Children’s Villages helped Anna and her business partner Frieda set up the community bakery and provided them with business and management training. The mothers have a regular source of income that allows them to better care for their families.

Mothers part of the Ondangwa Family Strengthening Program baking bread in Namibia

Anna is proud that with the money she is making she was able to have electricity installed in her house; this means no more cooking with firewood and that her children will no longer have to study by candle light. “I feel good,” Anna says.

Anna is a mother of two who has taken in two more children from her extended family. Before becoming the proprietor of Oluko Bakery Uupopo, Anna, like most people in Uupopo was unemployed. It is estimated that about 80 percent of caregivers in Uupopo are single mothers and most struggle from a lack of access to education and economic opportunities.

The Ondangwa Family Strengthening Program supports hundreds of families and children in communities like Uupopo that surround the Green Family SOS Children’s Village Ondangwa.

The Ondangwa Family Strengthening Program provides school fees, school uniforms and learning material for all four of Anna’s children. “Before SOS, many times we had nothing to eat in the morning, and sometimes no dinner. Today, we don’t go hungry and I don’t have to send my children to school in torn clothes,” Anna exclaims.

Mother walking children to school in Namibia

Anna produces between 20 and 45 loafs of bread at her bakery daily, and to sell all of them she has to walk from house to house to find buyers. Around 60 percent of the bakery’s profit are shared by Anna and Frieda as a monthly salary, 40 percent are used to buy supplies and to save for investments.

Thanks to SOS, Anna can take care of her family in a sustainable way. But she is far from being done. She is eager to learn how to use a computer because “you can’t be a business woman without those skills”, she states matter-of-factly. The theoretical part of her driving lessons is passed, too, and she can’t wait to complete the practical part. “Now my kids don’t want to live in our small house anymore,” she says with a smile. “They want to live in one of the brick houses they see around, with all its amenities. I promised them: You will live there one day, but do your part and study hard.”

Canadians wishing to help vulnerable children and families receive the support they need are encouraged to sponsor a childsponsor a Village or make a one-time donation. Your support will help change the lives of orphaned, abandoned and other vulnerable children. Please help today.

Canadians wishing to help vulnerable children are encouraged to sponsor a child, sponsor a Village or make a one-time donation. Your support will change the lives of orphaned, abandoned and other vulnerable children. Please help today.