Over the years, Standard Bank Namibia has supported the Forum for African Women Educationalists Namibia (FAWENA), an organisation that educates orphans and vulnerable children. Realising the essential need of this initiative, our Namibia office has regularly offered financial assistance to ensure FAWENA meets its objectives; in 2016, we sponsored N$988 400. This year, we handed over N$806 000.
According to Sigrid Tjijorokisa, Standard Bank Namibia’s Acting Head of Marketing, the Bank is proud to be associated with FAWENA, as the organisation has seen many recipients graduate from high school and thrive at institutions of higher learning. Some of the recipients of the sponsorship include David Hofeni, Rauna Negumbo, Liswaniso Sitali and Muhariambutu Hanganeni.
Attending a secondary school in Namibia’s northern Oshana Region, 19-year-old David was forced to walk to his grade 12 classes barefoot, as both his parents are unemployed. However, this didn’t deter him from attending class, and he maintained his star-pupil status. Despite his stellar grades, the FAWENA initiative still made a big difference in his academic life; he says all his basic needs were covered. For example, he no longer feels self-conscious about how he smells, because he can afford toiletries, and he doesn’t have to walk to school barefoot anymore.
After her father’s death, Rauna’s family of seven struggled to meet basic needs while relying solely on her grandmother’s pension. Now, after becoming a FEWENA recipient, the 16-year-old can buy everything she needs for school, including toiletries, stationary and a uniform.
Like David, 15-year-old Liswaniso’s peers laughed at him because he couldn’t afford deodorant. Though embarrassing, the grade-nine pupil kept to his books and eventually caught the attention of FAWENA. According to Liswaniso, who lives with his father, step-mother and two siblings, his father’s salary is barely enough for the whole family. Thus, the scholarship improved his life considerably, because, he says, he’s been able to focus on his academic performance and is no longer ashamed of the way he smells in class.
From the marginalized Himba tribe and currently living with his aunt who supports six other children, orphaned Muhariambutu faced discrimination and a lack of financial support since the passing his parents. Before he received the scholarship two years ago, he shares that he was performing poorly in school and felt depressed.
Fortunately, all that has changed: he has been able to buy school uniforms, toiletries, stationery and transport fare, which has eased his anxiety and allows him to focus his full attention on his studies. “I just want to thank Standard Bank for giving me the opportunity to become someone in life,” says Muhariambutu. “Thank you so much; you have made a difference in my life.”
FAWENA has been Standard Bank’s CSI project ever since 2009, with an initial commitment of over N$8 million. Ms Tjijorokisa revealed that almost half of Standard Bank Namibia’s CSI budget goes towards education through close links with Namibia’s Ministry of Education every year.