Located in the harsh desert environment along the banks of the dry Kuiseb riverbed, the !Khuiseb Arise and Shine Kindergarten is a loud testament of what perseverance and faith can bring about. When Gertrude Bull and her family relocated to the Rooibank area in 2011 she immediately saw the need for preschool education in the Topnaar community. “I could see that early childhood development and preschool education for school-readiness was sorely lacking. When I heard about the Amos Meercat programme on radio and the success those farm workers had with creating their own preschools, I knew I had to do something similar for our children,” she recounted.
As more children started attending the classes the Bull family built a small school building from waste material and had signed up some 17 children aged 3 to 6. Many of the children live up to 3km far from the school, but are eager to attend the school. “We also provide meals for the children because they walk so far. We have approached various institutions for assistance, but very little help was forthcoming,” Bull added.
The Amos Meercat pre-school project was created by Amos Namibia, a ministry focussing on the Namibia farming community, and the Namibia LifeChange Centres Foundation, a non-profit organisation that aims to provide support services to other charitable organisations focused on alleviating the need of the poor and doing community upliftment work. According to the Managing Director of the NLCCF, Schalk Walters, the goal of the Amos Meercat project is to equip informal pre-schools that do not have access to any curriculum or formally trained teachers, with the necessary tools and assistance. “In this way we can ensure that the learners are educationally ready when they enter Grade 1,” said Walters.
A few local building material suppliers contributed to the construction of the new school building which was officially handed over to the pre-school last month in a small ceremony. During the ceremony Walters expressed his appreciation to the Bull family for their determination to provide preschool education to their community. He also thanked the sponsors for their contribution in creating a better equipped classroom. As part of the classroom inauguration Manica Group Namibia and United Fishing Enterprises also donated dry food supplies (worth N$5000) and 300 canned fish and bean products (worth