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Otjikondo founder awarded Cross of the Order of Merit

Reiner Stommel receiving the Cross of the Order of Merit from His Excellency Egon Kochanke, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Namibia (Photograph by Hilma Hashange)

Reiner Stommel receiving the Cross of the Order of Merit from His Excellency Egon Kochanke, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Namibia (Photograph by Hilma Hashange)

The Federal Republic of Germany awarded German-born Namibian citizen, Reiner Josef Stommel with the Cross of the Order of Merit at a prestigious event held at the German Embassy recently. Stommel is the founder of the Otjikondo School Village Foundation a primary school situated 83 kilometers north west of Outjo on the Kamanjab road.
The school was founded in 1991 with the aim of improving the standard of education in the Outjo area. Twenty one years later, the primary school caters for about 240 children from Grades 1 to 7 from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. All the learners stay in hostels on the school premises for the whole year. The teaching staff consists of nine teachers and a principal. One teacher is dedicated to a special class to guide children with special learning needs. English is the medium of instruction with Afrikaans taught as a second language.
As well as academic performance, the school also emphasizes the importance of developing a range of different skills and talents of the learners. In addition to the normal school curriculum, a wide variety of training in practical skills is offered at the school including drama and music classes. The school also receives volunteers from England and a College of the Arts music instructor who comes to teach the children how to play music instruments such as the violin. All this is included in the N$250 that the children contribute to the school development fund which also includes hostel accommodation.
For the past three years, the Otjikondo School Village Foundation was the Best Performing Primary School in the Kunene Region and had two sports representatives in the national and regional qualifying games in athletics and netball respectively. Former learners are offered support to attend different high schools such as Otjiwarongo, Outjo and Khorixas Secondary Schools.
Stommel, being the founder of the school contributes significantly to the foundation and supplies the school with the necessary equipment such as computers and photo copier. In 1999, he also founded a kindergarten for 50 underprivileged children in the informal settlement of Donkerhoek in Khorixas and erected classrooms and accommodation for the teachers. Stommel who is 80 years old, is still actively involved in the projects and plans to continue to help, develop, educate and care for Namibian children.

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