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Trust to help keep hostels afloat

 (Left to right) Desk for hostels and kindergartens director, Enegalhardt ≠Unaeb, ELCRN Bishop Zephania Kameeta, with trustees of the Immanuel Trust, Vicky Toivo ya Toivo and Hans Rooi, and president of Hope4kids International, Tom Eggum.The Evangelical Church in the Republic of Namibia (ELCRN) has launched a trust fund to help sustain its hostels throughout the country.
The church established its hostel programme in the early 1960s in seven regions of the country to cater for orphans and vulnerable children as well as children that live far away from school especially in rural areas. Most of the hostels’ children come from very poor families and have lost one or both parents due to HIV/AIDS.
The department that runs the hostels, the Desk for Hostels and Kindergartens (DHK), relies heavily on donor funding. But as of December this year, Kindernoltehilfe, a German organisation that was providing 40% of the budgetary needs of the hostels will pull out, leaving government, parents and some individuals as the only sponsors. The government through the Ministry of Education gives a subsidy of N$12per day per child accommodated at the hostels.
The decision by the German organization to stop its funding has led the church to establish the Immanuel Trust in order to mobilise funds for the hostels which could otherwise have closed. The church runs 19 hostels, which employ 152 workers to care for the 1 650 children that are accommodated there.
At the launch of the trust on Thursday night, the DHK raised more than $47 000 cash from the workers at the hostels and other concerned individuals. Pledges made during the event amounted to N$19 750.
Speaking at the event, president and founder of Hope4Kids International, Tom Eggum encouraged Namibians to carry out their tasks to make a difference in the lives of others. Eggum was in Namibia in September during which he toured the hostels, describing the conditions at the hostel as  shocking.
Most of the hostels are dilapidated and in dire need of renovations. Since the level of funding only covers the cost of food, staffing and utilities, the hostels have had to postpone repairs and maintenance.
ELCRN Bishop, Reverend Zephania Kameeta said the church held the conviction that people should be empowered by God, but when that happens they should “start doing the things for themselves.”
He noted that many people held a wrong perception that developed countries were there to solve problems for them.
Bishop Kameeta said he believed it was time that Namibians started “to solve the problems the way we want and not the way other people want”

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