Keeping the home fires burning

30 January 2019 | Education

Three Ondangwa women are cooking for the 560 learners accommodated at Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo Senior Secondary School, despite not receiving a salary for their efforts.

Luise Elifas (28) Ndelila Costantina (27) and Lydia Mwashinda (26) said it's better to volunteer and gain experience, rather than being at home with their skills.

The women, who have cooking certificates but are unemployed, decided to assist the school which has no cooks working in the hostel kitchen after government failed to employ anyone.

When deputy education minister Anna Nghipondoka visited the school last week, school principal Walde Shapaka told her that the trio are committed, always on time and deliver to their expectations, despite the fact that the school does not pay them anything.

“I did a hospitality course in Ondangwa, but I could not get employment after I struggled with applying for a very long time.

"One day I heard that the school was looking for volunteers to cook in the kitchen.

"I then decided to come and volunteer,” Costantina said.

“I am enjoying it here because I am upgrading my skills, because we cook a variety of menus and I am hopeful that it may help us in our future endeavours.”

Mwashinda said it is better for her to volunteer and upgrade her skills than being at home twiddling her thumbs.

“I tried to find job, but there is nothing. I therefore decided to come and volunteer to gain more experience,” she said.

Shapaka said the school has a shortage of workers, especially cleaners and cooks.

He said the school has only two cleaners, who take care of the class areas, while the kitchen relies on the volunteers.

“Honourable minister we are thankful for these women; they cook for our learners for free.

"Our school had no cooks, but they decided to volunteer,” Shapaka said.

“Sometimes the school sells empty food containers and then we give them that little money we generate from there, just because they are also human beings and they have needs.”

Shapaka said they have requested that the education ministry employs cooks, but unfortunately government is not recruiting anymore.

Nghipondoka did not make any firm commitments regarding the school's request and also did not promise the volunteers anything.

She, however, thanked them for their job well done.

“You are doing a good job and keep it up,” she said.

ILENI NANDJATO

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