RUNDU: More than six months after their initially planned completion date, eight orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) kindergartens were finally inaugurated at informal settlements here on Thursday.
The eight kindergartens formed a group called Mehozetu OVCs Network in 2006 in order to share experiences and seek support for their development as most of them had no established structures to operate from, and were forced to do so out in the open or under trees.
The kindergartens, called Tupandeni, House of Love, St Theresia, St Jovitha, Austan Massey, Petronella, Pandureni and Kueseka, are situated in the Sauyemwa, Ndama, Kehemu and Kasote informal settlements on the outskirts of Rundu.
Each building has two classrooms, one storeroom and a toilet facility.
The new buildings were inaugurated by Rundu mayor Hilka Levi and built with support from the Luxembourg Foundation, which promotes private philanthropic commitment, as well as Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO).
These organisations have been supporting the network both financially and technically since 2008.
The construction of the kindergartens did not go without controversy as in April this year, community members of the Kehemu, Ndama and Sauyemwa informal settlements accused former Swapo-Party councillor in the Grootfontein Municipality, Kawana Mandume, of embezzling donor funds meant for the development of the OVCs’ project.
The politician-turned-businessman, who owns Glen Investment Construction Company, was awarded a half-a-million dollar tender by VSO to construct the Tupandeni, House of Love, Kueseka and Pandureni OVCs kindergartens.
According to the contract, Glen Investment, which started construction in November last year, was supposed to have completed the projects within 12 weeks, meaning by January this year.
This prompted community members to complain that Mandume failed to honour his earlier promise of completing construction on time.
They also accused him of abandoning the project immediately after getting paid part of the money by the VSO donor.