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Respond to the poor

Esteemed Editor
Dear Readers
I have decided to embark on a series of open letters through the print media for two reasons.
Firstly, to raise public awareness regarding specific critical challenges in our Society, and secondly to invite a public discourse about such challenges.
I have received overwhelming reaction from people of all walks of life, unfortunately only in private and not public media thus far. Nonetheless, I appreciate such reaction and it will assist me in formulating my opinion about critical issues.
I don’t want to create any false or unattainable expectations, but as a Nation we must keep the Namibian dream alive. We dare not tire, we should not falter and we will not fail.
Today I wish to address a challenge dear to my heart, that of POVERTY.
I write to you conscious of grievous problems besetting our country and its people, but I write to you, dear Compatriots, in a spirit of transcending hope and an overriding faith in the goodness of man.
We are Namibians and this country is ours. We love this country and are driven by this love.
These are trying but fascinating times in which we live.

The past few years especially, sensitized me in a practical manner to the needs of the needy and the suffering masses. It was not my first contact with this vulnerable group of people. The difference was that I was involved in aid programmes in the past, but this time I had to look on helplessly because I had to fight my own battle against unemployment and the consequent poverty.
It is, therefore, against the background of this personal experience that I wish, if I may, to speak on behalf of the poverty stricken members of our society. I am doing so because I wish to once again commit myself to the plight of the poor. I further wish to identify myself anew with the outspoken and declared passion and care demonstrated by many compatriots regarding the plight of the poor and the ongoing battle against poverty.
For many people in Namibia their primary occupation is daily survival. Forward planning is a luxury they cannot afford.
What people need is a worthwhile life; not just mere existence; not just simple survival. They must be able to live out their full human potential.
Poverty is not confronting us with a problem, but people living in a concrete situation against whom we have a responsibility. Living persons who challenge us, because they are real.
The poor is someone we must respond to as a person created in the image of the living God. In whose cry of anguish, pain and suffering we hear the voice of God. In whose humiliation we see the suffering of the God who is afflicted by the affliction of his people.
God bless Africa
Guide her leaders
Bless her children
And give her peace
I thank you
Reggie Diergaardt

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