By Simon Liseli
MINISTER of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Doreen Sioka has donated thirty (30) blankets to children with disabilities at Cheshire home in Katima Mulilo.
Speaking during the hand over of blankets Hon. Sioka said she was very happy to be at Cheshire home, a center which is caring for children with disabilities in the region.
Her main visit to the center was to hand over blankets to the children of the center. “You know the Ministry of Gender we call it the Ministry of People because men, women and children with their welfare falls under the Ministry starting from the president,” Noted Hon. Sioka.
Cheshire home is a charitable organisation caring for children with disabilities in the Caprivi region. The children are residing in the hostel during school terms and attend their mainstream education and receive rehabilitation services after school hours. The center also runs out reach programs in which children with disabilities are visited in all villages around the region.
Mr. Dennis Matomola the Head of Gender, Equality and Child Welfare in Katima Mulilo organised the blankets. Minister Sioka described Mr. Matomola as a serious man with the welfare of all people in the region and the center Cheshire home is part of the Ministry as it is registered with the Ministry. “What ever we do in our Ministry we think of our children,” She said.
The Minister was worried of the space for the center that it is not enough as it caters for two regions, which are Kavango and Caprivi. She called on business people in the region to come up with support and communities to bring out those type of children rather than hiding and making them suffer in Villages.
“We want to see as many children so that we force the government to create more centers of this type, Cheshire home is helping us more and I know the other one of Ms. Sylvia Chidunka which is also registered now with our Ministry” She stressed.
She warned that issues of accommodation for the needy centers which are carrying for children with disabilities and other challenges should be taken up by government to help those children to live in a better environment and receive their education wisely.
“What I am saying now is a call to parents because I know there are a lot of these children who have got physical challenges in rural areas and these children are hidden because of the N$ 200 they are receiving,” She pointed out.
Honourable Sioka called on all parents to bring disability children to education not to make business on them, “There is no difference I have seen with these children and those one who are the so called normal ones, there is no difference, they are so clean and they can do all what we can do so I call on all parents to bring those children for education wise, these children are different from those who are hidden in rural areas” She lamented.
She encouraged both boys and girls of Cheshire home living with disabilities to take their education seriously as they are equal to everybody and they have the right to education so that they become the future leaders of the country, “I want you to rule me here in Katima as the mayor, a governor or a teacher who will teach my children” said the Minister.
Minister Sioka told children with disabilities that Namibia is their own country and land of birth where they should portray their leadership. She repeated encouraging them to be serious with education to read hard their books and listen carefully to their teachers in classes, as she wants to see them leading the country in future.
“When you see children like you in your villages invite them to join you because now you know how to read than those who are in villages, challenge and show them that you are equal to any other people,” She furthered.
On behalf of Cheshire home sister Jesse Steeghs a Physiotherapist of the center informed the honorable Minister that they also used to do out reach programs in which they visit children living with disabilities in villages around the region especially those who are hidden by their parents.
She also commented on the point which the Minister pointed out in her speech about the N$200 grant which disabled children are receiving from the government that when they used to do their out reach programs they always found children with disabilities suffering from hunger, dirtyness, with no clothing and they are not taken care of.
“You will find those children sitting in the sun on the sand, they are even smelling and their clothing are dirty which is not good to their health but they don’t want to bring them here just because of that N$200 they are receiving for them and use it in their own business, you will find them clean, well dressed and they sitting in Chairs” , Stressed sister Jesse.
She pointed out to the Minister that those disabled children who cannot walk, they are always locked up in houses where it’s hot and they are dirty with flies all over their bodies, “It’s really a shame, when we ask them, do you receive grant for this child because I think they are not receiving it that’s why they are not able to take care of the child but they always tell us that yes we receive it and when asking them why is this child like this? We don’t get proper answers but you know a piece of soap is only N$5.00,”She lamented.
The Hon. Minister was escorted by Mr. Dennis Matomola ,her personal assistant Mr. Kenneth Silimbani the Chief Community Liaison Officer Mr. Eliot Muchila and Ms. Felicia Muchila, the Social Worker.