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Disability support grows at Ovitoto

Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services, Juliet Kavetuna, Deputy Minister of Economic Planning, Lucia Iipumbu, Chief Vipuira Kapuuo of the Ovaherero Traditional Authority and Head of Cooperation at the German Embassy, Christian Grün, with the residents of the Ovitoto Disability Centre. The centre was renovated at a cost of N$700,000 supported by the National Planning Commission through the Namibia German Special Initiative Programme. The renovated centre was inaugurated earlier this week.

“Disability does not equal inability!” said the new Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services, Hon Juliet Kavetuna, committing her ministry to ensure that the renovated centre at Ovitoto improves the lives of people living with disabilities.

Kavetuna invited the people of Ovitoto to use the centre as a hub to nurture the creativity of people living with disabilities so that they also have the opportunity to get a job.
She also committed her ministry to the prevention of polio, which was is of the leading causes of disability among children.
The centre, which is located in Okandjira in the Ovitoto communal area, was originally established in 1998 to help people living with disabilities to engage in economic activities, like carving and selling home decorations and other art as a way to improve their livelihoods. At one stage the centre had 80 community members who participated in various activities.
Later the rehabilitation division was moved to the Health and Social Services ministry and activities were downsized to the point where operations were suspended in 2000.
Representing the National Planning Commission, Deputy Minister Lucia Iipumbu said the government is committed to making sure that such assistance is put to good use in an effort to make a dent in poverty reduction, and to improve social and economic living conditions.
According to Iipumbu, modern, reliable infrastructure is critical for high and sustained economic growth. “Without such infrastructure, almost everything in the economic value chain tends to be slower, less reliable, and more expensive than necessary.” The Head of Cooperation at the German Embassy, Christian Grün said that the then German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Mrs Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul made a “plea for forgiveness” during the 100th anniversary of the suppression of of the Herero uprising.
“Her plea was accepted and the hand she extended was taken. I am really grateful for that,” he said.“I hope that it is through projects and events like this, that we will find a common language of remembrance and a way forward to shape a Namibian German future in dignity and cooperation.”
Chief Vipuira Kapuuo of the Ovaherero Traditional Authority thanked the German and Namibian governments, saying “As we mark this milestone in Ovitoto, I want to assure you that the centre will be taken care of and that it will not serve any other purpose than what it is intended for.”

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