Saara Kalumba is a motivated student who has great plans for her future. She is just about to complete her Bachelor studies at the Namibia University of Science and Technology in Windhoek. She is currently doing an internship at a secondary school. Professionally, Saara would like to become an editor.
When I first met her, none of these accomplishments were even remotely imaginable to her. She was raised by her single mother in a village called Oshalongo along with her nine siblings. Her mother was ill and unemployed. The family was almost falling apart.
Saara capitalizes on her opportunities.
“None of us had any hopes and dreams anymore. We had almost given up on life.” says Saara. When she says ‘us’, not only is she referring to herself and her siblings, but also to the other young people who came from dire conditions and received support from the SOS Family Strengthening Program. Saara sent a letter to the SOS Children’s village and this is what she wrote: “On behalf of thousands of homeless children, and children whose families were in desperate situations, I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart. SOS has helped us to feel like we belong – like we are not alone – and SOS has helped out with our education such that our lives have taken a dramatic turn to the extent that some of the street children of Namibia will be the leaders of tomorrow – of that I am certain.”
Saara’s family does not need us anymore
When Saara and her family were admitted into the Family Strengthening Program, we met their most urgent needs and provided them with food, but that was only a temporary solution. We did not want to make the family dependent on us but rather wanted to work together with them to find a way for them to secure an independent, sustainable way of life.
Saara’s mother received various forms of training. We provided school uniforms and paid school fees for Saara and her siblings. Slowly but surely, the family was able to stand on their own feet. Saara’s mother sells various goods at the market and what she gets is enough to sustain the family. They do not need us anymore.
Saara says: “SOS has opened a door for me!” I would say: it was all her. She grabbed the chance available to her, and made the most of it.